The iconic band played their rescheduled gig at the cricket ground, Bradley Lengden went down to see if they were as good as expected.
Date published: 11th Jul 2017
Image: Steve Farrell
A band that have built a career from pushing musical boundaries, possessing a seemingly endless drive not to be content in producing an album that sounds anything like the last, yet still, Radiohead are one of the most divisive bands on the planet, their reluctance to accommodate to those vying for 'the hits' often leaves many wanting.
There was no hint of that though when it came to their return to Manchester. A show, which risked feeling bittersweet under the circumstances, rescheduled due to the horrific events that left the original Manchester Arena venue out of action.
No, what unfolded was a show that will go down as something colossal, even for Radiohead. A show that encapsulated the highest points of every different era the band has gone through over the last 25+ years. A career-spanning setlist that would be widely agreed as one of their best in recent memory.
From catching everyone in the stadium off guard by opening with 'Let Down' for the first ever time, to the iconic 'No Surprises' taking on that new post-election political relevance. The lyric “They don't speak for us” met with rapturous approval, before doubling down on their political input by plucking along to the Jeremy Corbyn chants that rounded off the track.
Ok Computer got a strong showing in the main set after the seminal record celebrated turning 20. With 'Lucky' and 'Airbag' also appearing. Combining with the pounding electronics of '15 Step' and '2+2=5' to round off the first portion of a night that had barely even begun.
Predictably, the encore was when things began to mark something truly iconic. With OK Computer's most iconic track, the alternative rock opera 'Paranoid Android' growing more powerful throughout each section before Greenwood proving why he'll go down as one of the great guitarists during the final moments of 'Fake Plastic Trees' manically scratching his way to the end of the first encore.
The penultimate track saw the band have one last surprise inclusion, as Yorke joked he may need help with the first verse before exploding into 'The Bends'. The only song that held the ability to provide the ultimate special moment, on a night filled with so many special moments was only ever going to be 'Karma Police'.
Maybe the occasion got the better of everyone involved, but for one rare occasion, they cut the figure of a group genuinely humbled by an occasion and by a crowd. A band that have for so long seemed otherworldy and untouchable, were brought back down to a human level. Yorke bowing down to a crowd that had just erupted every last word back at him probably louder and with more meaning than ever before. Manchester has played host to an endless list of unforgettable gigs, but this, with all things considered, will stand alongside all of them for some time.