Monday, October 01, 2012

Radiohead shines on season premiere of 'Austin City Limits'

Radiohead singer-guitarist Thom Yorke
In a world of gizmos and gadgets, laptops and wi-fi, iPads and iPhones, and seemingly everything under the fluorescent sun isn't it great that television still matters.
That is abundantly clear on the season premiere of the ever-essential PBS television series Austin City Limits (ACL), which begins its 38th season on Oct. 6, 2012 with an hour-long performance featuring the groundbreaking British band Radiohead.

The episode marks the first time that Radiohead has ever appeared on ACL, and watching how amazing the band is via this early 2012 performance chronicled at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas is to see what happens when the strongest of modern rock heroes and best of compelling music television shows meet.

Although Radiohead is a relative youngster (the band released its debut single "Creep" in 1992) at 20 compared to ACL, whatever the delay in the two forces finally forging can be forgiven thanks to the magic displayed throughout the episode. Featuring material gleaned mostly from the band's recent discs (notably Hail to the Thief and The King of Limbs) and new material unveiled on this tour, Radiohead blazes through its genre-decimating blend of experimental rock and electronica in a setting that actually captures what the fuss is all about when discussing the acclaimed group.

Not only do Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other stuff), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion) and Ed O'Brien (guitar, percussion, backing vocals) look like they're having a blast, the live audience seems fully tuned in. In addition, the fantastic camera work and selection of shots collectively break down that wall between Radiohead and television viewers.

Among the highlights on the Radiohead ACL episode are the affecting "The Daily Mail," with Yorke beginning the song while seated at his upright piano before the rest of the band comes in as the song builds and builds. Later on during "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy," Yorke plays bass using it with a percussion-styled approach that layers well against Colin Greenwood's use of his own bass instrument.

And proving that no other band can rock quite like Radiohead is easy thanks to the jaw-dropping versions of "Morning Mr. Magpie" and even more forceful "There There" unleashed by the band.

Radiohead episode setlist:

The Daily Mail
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Amazing Sounds of Orgy
There There
Paranoid Android

For more information, including details on future episodes, visit

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