This is what I was really looking forward to after Radiohead’s soulfully satisfying performance at Madison Square Garden! And this was Outside Lands (OL) in San Francisco, needless to say, my hopes were “high”! But as it usually turns out, if its too good to be true, it usually is! This one I attended with some friends, and we wanted to explore the festival grounds a little before Radiohead started. We headed to one of the other stages (OL has seven) and this unbelievable sight is what greeted us. I immediately put my mediocre-quality-but-14x-zoom Canon digicam to work and captured this shot to log into the history books! And no sooner than that the performance ended! Lucky timing 😉
Having been rewarded for our foray into the crazy land, we headed back to our valley and as we descended the hills the sight that greeted us was almost scary! Our lands had been overrun and there was a crazy-drunken-marijuana-emanating party going on. We braced ourselves and dived right in.
After a couple of pitstops to get beers (not for me, I was already high, thanks to some benevolent patrons) and check out the Heineken EDM club, we wisely thought it was time to book our standing spots and as we headed in the general direction of the stage got stuck in the first human jam of OL!
We somehow held onto each other and the river of music-lovers finally placed us on the shores of civilization. We saw new sights and heard new sounds and tasted new food and met more benevolent patrons in this bustling and happily tripping land.
Yes this land was amazing and enticing and distracting, but we didn’t want to lose focus of our goal and trudged on through all these temptations to see Radiohead Live! But as it turned out, we had already committed the sin of sloth and temptation and now our path to the promised land was blocked by human barricades. Not to give up so easily we fought through for some time but couldn’t make much headway as this place was covered with feet-mines and there wasn’t a piece of safe land to step on (got “blasted” a couple of times). Resigned to our fate we set base where we could manage even a glimpse of our promised lands!
In the promised lands (or its vicinity) it’s every man for himself and as I readied myself to get lost in the music once Radiohead started playing, unfortunately that point never came and I got lost in the crowd instead. Radiohead didn’t start too well (just like in New York and so I knew that) but when they didn’t really pick up even after the fifth song I got a little worried. Maybe they were the same, maybe it was me who was different (high), most probably it was the crowd who didn’t seem too enthused, too engaged and that lack of energy and appreciation from my fellow music lovers affected me deeply in that heightened state of awareness because I am a true lover of Radiohead and yes they are not the most popular or mainstream but their fans are the most diehard! And what I realized that these people around me are not true Radiohead-fans, they are foreign visitors to these sacred lands and as such viewing our gods with some mild disinterest, something akin to a tourist clicking a photo of the most beautiful scenery and then checking how it looked on their phones or cameras and then moving on to the next scenic spot. But I still thought the mournfully beautiful tunes will somehow get through to the dazed stupor of the tourist, surely a beauty of this caliber should shake you awake, it has to be powerful. But no; and sadly the final dejected thoughts I had were “SF is too cool for Radiohead” and “The magic of Radiohead is a waning one and no match to our self-obsessed generation of Me and My Choices!” In fact Radiohead fans ourselves are a perfect example of that self-obsession. But then isn’t music itself a form of self-obsession as it draws you inwards and enables you to hear your inner voices more clearly? Anyway, I was just sorrowful!
But there was hope in the end. When Radiohead played the last song “Karma Police” and sang the lines,
…For a minute there,
I lost myself,
I lost myself…
everyone started to murmur the first time, sang the next time and then cried out the last time. Finally, at the very last moment, at the point beyond redemption, at the edge of the cliff that we have been sleepwalking towards, Radiohead got through and woke us up to some drops of unrealized latent tears welling up at the corners of our eyes…
- Concert#: 96
- Season: 2016
- Date: 6-August-2016
- Band/Artist: Radiohead
- Tour Name: Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, A Moon Shaped Pool
- Supporting acts: Lots
- Venue: Golden Gate Park
- City: San Francisco, CA
- Setlist: Radiohead
- My Concert Quotient: 3/5