Home > Rock & Pop > REVIEW: Radiohead @ White River Amphitheatre (Auburn, WA – - 8/20/08)

REVIEW: Radiohead @ White River Amphitheatre (Auburn, WA – - 8/20/08)

21st Aug 08 (Thu) Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, first off, I wasn’t going to attempt to take my own pictures of the show… I’m an amateur, I was far away, outdoor venue, yadda yadda. For a great review (of the Boston show 8/13) with pictures & video, check out this review.

The venue was White River Amphitheatre (outside of Auburn, WA)… bleh. Not far enough away from Seattle to avoid traffic. Two lane road going in and out of the venue. Crappy gravel parking. No food within 6 miles. Crappy sound. I don’t think I’ll ever go back there… unless there is a Pink Floyd reunion, a Faith No More / Mr Bungle reunion tour… or Chroma Key plays there. All of those events are highly unlikely.

The opener (Liars?) got completely missed. I heard them playing their last song as I was walking from my car. Oh well…

Radiohead came on just after 9pm… and played for a long time. They played a good mix of songs, but the sound at this venue (as alluded to above) was pretty much crap for any of the louder songs. The quieter songs sounded really good, but the big rock songs were mush (not the good kind of mush). Now, the lighting… holy crap. Fun / cool / awesome lighting.


(from the Boston showCourtesy of Cole Kinsler)

Jonny Greenwood has ever so gently been eeking up in my favorites list, and I think he’s officially taken over as my favorite Radiohead (and body). He’s the anti-guitar hero. He plays with artistic conviction and an “I don’t care if you like it or if it looks cool, this is what I’m doing now” demeaner. I can dig it.


Courtesy of Hyphen

I was also lazy in the “write down the setlist” department, as I know Radiohead has their many minions. Here’s what I got over at the atease blog (thanks to Flaaneuse who submitted it & the descriptions in italics):

Radiohead’s Setlist:

  • 15 Step
  • Reckoner
  • Optimistic
  • There There
  • All I Need (a fav from the night)
  • Pyramid Song
  • Talk Show Host (holy crap!! 90s era b-side… one of my favs from the night)
  • The National Anthem
  • The Gloaming
  • Videotape
  • Lucky (another fav from the night)
  • Faust Arp [Thom messes up lyrics several times, starts singing Neil Young's "Tell Me Why"; Jonny tries to follow along but can't quite get the chords. Phil comes out and drops an American dollar bill out in front of Thom and Jonny and runs away laughing. Thom and Jonny crack up completely to loud cheers. Thom tries again, says "Fuck it!", but then continues and finishes the song.]
  • Jigsaw Falling Into Place
  • Climbing Up The Walls (another fav from the night… I love this melody)
  • Dollars and Cents
  • Nude
  • Bodysnatchers
  • Encore 1: How to Disappear Completely
  • Arpeggi/Weird Fishes
  • Idioteque
  • In Limbo [Tambourine accompaniment by Nigel Godrich. Thom, 'This is Nigel', Ed, 'He makes our records.']
  • Street Spirit (another fav from the night… I love this melody)
  • Encore 2: You And Whose Army? [Thom dedicates to the people who demonstrated against the WTO in Seattle in 1999]
  • No Surprises (would have likely been a fav from the night; alas, I was on the road – starting my 4 hour trip home)
  • Everything In Its Right Place

The Appropriate Linkage:

Good show… it’s a pleasure to see Radiohead just about any time. This time was in the “OK/Good” category, but not their fault. I just think I’m getting too picky to go to the big outdoor venues…

~Dan – np: John Zorn‘s The Dreamers

  1. Jonah
    21st Aug 08 (Thu) at 6:45 pm

    Great review! I found your blog as a feeder to my blog (“Jonah’s Wednesday Night Concert Review Series: Radiohead!, in your Possibly Related Posts, is my review of the band’s Montreal show).

    I’m particularly jealous that you Thom and company played No Surprises in the second encore. Wasn’t in the Montreal set, and it’s one of my all-time faves. Luckily I have seen them do that song live, at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. a few years ago. That was a superb show in a killer venue. They even pulled a shocker that night by playing Creep, a song they seem to have otherwise disavowed. It’s kind of like the way Zeppelin stopped playing Stairway to Heaven live: Neither is anywhere close to the best song by the band, but it’s the hit that resonates with casual fans, and there’s still something cool about seeing the band throw the crowd a bone.

    With all that said: They didn’t play Paranoid Android OR Fake Plastic Trees? Que triste! I’m a sucker for those two old faves.

  2. 21st Aug 08 (Thu) at 7:07 pm

    Yeah, I’m bummed I left before “No Surprises.” :(

    I dig PA & FPT, too… I’ve seen ‘em a few other times (3, actually), and I’m pretty sure they played those songs each of the other times…

    ~Dan

  3. Someone
    21st Aug 08 (Thu) at 11:11 pm

    I loved the renditions of The Gloaming and Idioteque that night. I am a sucker for Hail to the Thief, so hearing the Gloaming was a nice trick. There There was also really cool to see live. I flew up from Salt Lake to see the show and it was well worth the trip!

  4. 22nd Aug 08 (Fri) at 10:38 am

    Excellent review. I have made alist of all the shows from the 2008 tour and places to download them. You can check it out here: http://inrainbowsremix.com/tour08/

  5. Sarah Duff
    22nd Aug 08 (Fri) at 10:50 am

    I’ve gotta disagree on the sound quality. I was blown away by how good everything sounded. I was pretty far back and it was so powerful as a whole that I doubt any future show will ever measure up. Thanks Radiohead.

  6. Brian
    22nd Aug 08 (Fri) at 12:10 pm

    I sat in the box seats and it sounded totally wicked AWESOME

  7. 22nd Aug 08 (Fri) at 12:28 pm

    I was in section 209 (row 12) in the pavilion… bass was too overpowering, very muddled low end, drums not all that crisp on the loud songs. I walked up near the grass area during part of it, just to see if it was merely a fact of where I was in the pavilion, and it didn’t sound much better.

    Alas, I’m glad you thought the sound was good. It was completely not good as far as I’m concerned. 4th time seeing RH, and this was by far the worst sound mix, IMO. Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre show (in June 2006) was bone-rattlingly / ear-bleedingly loud, but still better sound quality than this show, if you axe me.

    Oh well… still a good show. :) The lighting effects and the great sound on “Talk Show Host” just about made up for the bad sound on the other stuff…

    ~Dan

  8. JoeyChaps
    23rd Aug 08 (Sat) at 2:30 pm

    I thought the sound was fine, but what do I know. I was just loving being there and hearing them live for the first time since I caught them opening for R.E.M. 13 years ago. I was curious how seeing them live would be different, all these years later and through the evolution of their sound.

    Back then, it seemed as if Thom was half drunk on stage, which he could get away with because he was just the opening act. This time, I was blown away by their professionalism and their efforts to reproduce live the sounds so intricately constructed in the studio. It worked great live.

    And the screw-up on Faust Arp was fine, too, because it lightened the mood and showed their playful side. Speaking of playful, I think Thom’s performance on You & Whose Army, toying with the camera shot, was my favorite part of the show. It reminded me of that almost self-deprecating, oddball whimsy with which they made videos like No Surprises and Karma Police. It was great to see that come out in the live show.

    The venue did suck. I’ll never go to a show there again, either, if I can avoid it. Getting in and out was purgatory at best, hell at worst. I got there so late, I missed the Liars completely, and since I had a general admission ticket, was banished to the very back edge of the lawn. Luckily, by the first and second encores, enough people had left early that I was able to move up as close to the front of the lawn as I wanted.

    I couldn’t blame those who left early because of the difficulties getting home. But for those of you who did, I’ll just say you also missed a great closing with Everything In Its Right Place. Although on most of the songs, you could recognize the track simply based on the first chord, they really disguised Everything… for about a minute or two before that maddeningly catchy intro beat began to materialize. The rest of the audience, too, seemed enthralled by the way they eased into that song, because they started clapping along with the beat in a way that felt like the whole venue was one rhythmic heartbeat.

  9. 23rd Aug 08 (Sat) at 2:46 pm

    Cool… thanks for the recap of the 2nd encore. :)

    I wish I would have been able to see them 13 years ago, too… I’ve seen both bands independently (REM only once), but both REM & RH are quite the professionals…

    Cheers!
    ~Dan

  10. 25th Aug 08 (Mon) at 10:48 am

    I was under the impression that Thom kept messing up the arpeggio scaling in Faust Arp not the lyrics. He seemed to drop a note everytime and that is why he aborted it for the slower Neil Young temporarily. maybe I was hearing things.

  11. tiblittle
    25th Aug 08 (Mon) at 2:08 pm

    It was an amazing concert. Radiohead was so freaking good live. I was in the front row center on the lawn and the mix sounded ok to me. I knew it would be a nightmare getting out of the parking lot, so we brought snacks and just had a good time. THE LIARS WERE TERRIBLE! Don’t be sad you missed them. Some of their songs started out with a cool beat… and then the singer would start in with lyrics like “Die, die, the Devil’s in your eye”, etc. The whole crowd thought they sucked, too. I can’t believe Radiohead endorsed them. The way they tried to warm up the crowd was laughable. At least the concert was the most amazing I’ve ever been to.

  12. Paul
    26th Aug 08 (Tue) at 3:37 pm

    Does anybody know what band/artist was playing before radiohead came on stage? It was a great beat/electronica/dance mix or something. Anybody got a clue?

  13. Paul
    26th Aug 08 (Tue) at 3:38 pm

    I meant the music over the AP. Not the Liars…..

  14. 26th Aug 08 (Tue) at 4:07 pm

    No, I don’t know. It sounded oddly familiar… sorta electronic-y post-rocky like Goddamn Electric Bill, Frog Pocket, or Holy Fuck… but none of those aforementioned bands.

    ~Dan

  15. John
    1st Sep 08 (Mon) at 2:19 pm

    Didn’t they play I Will? I could have sworn.

  16. 1st Sep 08 (Mon) at 3:14 pm

    I don’t remember it. Neither did the person who submitted the set list to the at ease blog.

    Maybe you were listening to it in the car on the way to the show? :)

  17. Todd
    4th Jul 10 (Sun) at 4:45 pm

    I’ve been to dozens of venues, and I thought the sound was amazing – better than The Gorge, for one. Further back, with the wind et al, I can imagine that you heard differently. Eight rows back/above the floor in the middle, it sounded amazing. Worth paying the ebay seller $450 for the pair, as it was an amazing show.

    As to the music prior to them hitting the stage, if the one in a million chance that Paul returns to this blog (and still doesn’t know), it was the track “Swimmer” by Four Tet, from their “Ringer” release.

    • 5th Jul 10 (Mon) at 8:09 am

      Thanks for the intro music 411!

      I wish RH would come back to the US… specifically the PacNW :)

  1. 10th Apr 12 (Tue) at 1:39 am

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