By the Way

Radiohead played a career-spanning show in New Orleans — were you there?

Radiohead perform “Daydreaming” at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Monday, April 3, 2017.
Radiohead perform “Daydreaming” at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Monday, April 3, 2017. Courtesy

I’ve had a love/hate, but mostly love, relationship since the first time I heard “Creep” in 1993. I wasn’t a huge fan of “Creep” nor of the band’s first album “Pablo Honey.” But all of that changed when Radiohead released “The Bends” in 1995 and followed that with “OK Computer” in 1997. I was hooked, maybe even a little obsessed with the low-key melodic band from Britain.

I rediscovered my passion for the band during an eclectic, career-spanning (minus “Pablo Honey”) set Monday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The band covered a lot of ground in its almost 2.5 hours and there were plenty of highlights along the way.

The show opened with “Daydreaming,” a piano-driven ballad from the band’s last album, “A Moon Shaped Pool.” It was a curious opener, but bathed in white lights, it set the tone for the night. It was followed by another track from the new album, “Desert Island Disk.” And then, another, with “Ful Stop.” All in all, Radiohead played five songs from “A Moon Shaped Pool,” including the first single, “Burn The Witch.”

The rest of the night was filled with selections from the band’s catalog, including songs from “Kid A,” “Amnesiac,” “Hail to The Thief” and “In Rainbows.”

My favorite songs came late in the night when they offered up “Karma Police” from “OK Computer” and the show-closing “Paranoid Android,” which rocked way harder live than it does on the album. But it was at the end of the second encore — they played three — that really stirred my old “I love ‘The Bend’ soul,” a spot-on version of “Fake Plastic Trees.” It was one of many songs where Thom Yorke sang like an angel. His voice was close to perfect in New Orleans.

I’ve been haunted by the Radiohead show since it ended. I’ve thought about it, replayed it in my mind and I’ve even thought about the things I wish they had played — “Everything In Its Right Place,” for starters. And I’m certain I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts. Radiohead offered something to every part of their fan base — the fans of the early stuff, fans of the ballads, fans of the rockers and fans of the late-period “lap top rock” of which I’m not a huge fan. But it wasn’t enough. Even at 2.5 hours, the show was just not enough. If only they had played one more song and that song was “High and Dry” or “American Anthem” or “In Limbo” or “Dark Star” or ...

New Orleans set list

  • Daydreaming
  • Desert Island Disk
  • Ful Stop
  • 2 + 2 = 5
  • Lucky
  • Separator
  • Videotape
  • The Numbers
  • Let Down
  • Bloom
  • I Might Be Wrong
  • Lotus Flower
  • Identikit
  • The Gloaming
  • Idioteque
  • Bodysnatchers
  • How to Disappear Completely

Encore one

  • No Surprises
  • Burn the Witch
  • Morning Mr. Magpie
  • Nude
  • Karma Police

Encore two

  • You and Whose Army?
  • Fake Plastic Trees

Encore three

  • Paranoid Android