Sunday, June 25, 2006

Let Down and Hanging Around

Radiohead depressed me terribly tonight, and not in the way you'd imagine. This was the long-awaited Berkeley concert with my favorite band of all time, and my hopes were stratospheric. Now I'm left feeling hollow and numb from the concert, from my total lack of connection with the band and the songs that were so fraught with meaning before. I don't understand it well, especially since the friends who accompanied me (men of intelligence and discrimination) loved the performance.

Any time in the last year, I could have written an apologia for Radiohead: not only are they consummate crafters of sounds and innovative rockers, but their strange forms are fitted to their meanings, and the ground they explore is the existential human condition in all its glory and horror, our isolation and concern and perhaps even original sin (hear Planet Telex).

But it seemed like these songs were just thrown out as spectacle and received as entertainment, as Thom Yorke seemed jaded and the crowd followed its own purposes (most egregious example: in No Surprises, the lines "Bring down the government/ They don't, they don't speak for us" aren't remotely about the Bush administration [as the song was released in '97] and aren't to be taken seriously in context; yet the Berkeley students released a big 'ol political roar anyway). We were barely responsive at most times (this may have been because large amounts of cannabis were offered as holocausts throughout the concert), and the band seemed to hold back the heart in their performance. It seemed appropriate enough when Thom sang, "There's a gap in between/ where I end and you begin", since both a physical and emotional barrier separated the band from the audience.

It was just, I guess, like a part of me vanished. Maybe it was just me instead of them; I've been getting less and less from their albums as I replayed them all leading up to the concert. It's just awful.

I think now I ought to get to sleep, I am running on 5 hours after the crazy house-cooling party Friday night.

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