Radiohead. Santa Barbara Bowl. April 11, 2017.
What does this have to do with anything?
I was there. So was Wes. We were there, and it was awesome.
It all started in February. Radiohead had just announced an additional bunch of tour dates, most of which were along the west coast, and I emailed the link to Wes as a kind of, “Ha ha, wouldn’t this be amazing?” thing. Radiohead was coming to Seattle, and while it most definitely would have been awesome to see that show, I knew tickets would sell out in an instant so I figured it would go nowhere.
Wes is not a going nowhere kind of guy, so he plotted. And planned. And prepared. The moment tickets were available, he worked his magic and actually managed to score a pair of tickets. In Santa Barbara.
When he called me to tell me he’d achieved the impossible, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. The importance and significance of Radiohead’s music in my life can’t be overstated. I gave birth to my first child while listening to Hail to the Thief on repeat. “How to Disappear Completely” helped me survive election season last year. I more of less wore out my copies of OK Computer and Amnesiac in high school as I drove the hour-long route to and from school.
If I’m ever stressed or scared or anxious or happy or calm or introspective or relaxed, Radiohead is my go-to. Every time. This band means something to me, but they’re so immensely popular (for good reason) that I’d resigned myself to the likelihood I’d never get the chance to see them perform live.
But Wes doesn’t accept impossibilities when it comes to me. He knew this would be the trip of a lifetime, so he made it happen. I was so nervous before the band came out, Wes says I was shaking a little. I couldn’t talk. I could barely remember to breathe.
And then there they were. And the music was even better live, if you can believe that. They played the song Wes most wanted to hear (“15 Step”), and too many others to name, and then left the stage.
I was crestfallen. As much as I loved the songs they’d played, they hadn’t played “Nude,” my favorite of their songs.
The show, it turned out, wasn’t over, and they ended up playing “Nude” during one of their four encores. The feeling when the song crested and then receded was indescribable, which is really saying something because I describe things for a living. The closest I can come to explaining how it felt is to say overwhelming, searing joy, the kind that consumes you and leaves you in a daze afterward.
It really was a true fan’s show. Many of the songs they played were obscure, and there was even a song that I think was completely new that I’d never heard before. It was pure magic. A perfect show in a perfect location with a perfect man by my side to enjoy it with.
Are there any other Radiohead fans reading this? What’s your favorite Radiohead song?