Standing there last night at Verizon Wireless (heh) Amphitheater, my old stomping grounds (I once worked there briefly, and it's where I graduated from high school), in a sea of cargo pants-clad cracka-ass crackas, it occurred to me: As long as I'd been listening to Radiohead, I'd never actually seen them live. In fact, I'm not even sure the last time they were here, or anywhere around here. A few songs into their set last night, I realized this was probably neither the best time nor place to see Radiohead for the first time.
First of all, there was the venue. Riverport, as I'll be referring to it from here on out (fuck you, Verizon Wireless!) would be one of the gayer places to see a concert even if it wasn't a shitty outdoors amphitheater.
Last night, I copped a sixer of Bud Light at the Convenient Food Mart over at Lackland and Craig, another one of my old stomping grounds. I downed the first half of it at a nearby house party that looked like some shit out of the movie Kids, and I was gonna down the rest of it in the parking lot at Riverport before I went in. But just as I was cracking open beer number four, someone was like, "Oh shit, there's the cops." They were busting some kids who were tailgating the next row of cars over. So I had to pour my shit out and toss the rest of it in some guy's trunk.
Come to find out, Maryland Heights has some sort of bullshit-ass ordinance against drinking beer in parking lots. The reason why: Beer inside costs $9. Like most black people, I don't go to Busch Stadium, but according to some guy last night, that's even worse than it costs there. So what I did is, I copped three of them, i.e. $27 worth, and poured them down my throat real fast, so I'd get extra drunk. It kinda worked, but it kinda didn't. I got good and fucked up... for a minute. But when you're big like I am, and when you drink like I drink, you kinda have to keep drinking, or else it'll just wear off and you'll just feel kinda shitty. Which started to set in right around the time Radiohead was going on. Damn.
Here was my other huge issue with last night. Radiohead brought there own teh ghey-ass light show - like something you might see at a rave, nullus; so they didn't end up using the jumbotron screens at all. So if you were stuck out in the field like I was, there was no way of knowing whether or not you were actually seeing Radiohead, or just some animatronic Englishmen swaying back and forth to Radiohead recordings - along the lines of the shit they used to have at Chuck E. Cheese, or as I like to call it, Showbiz Pizza. (For all I know, they might still have shit like that at Chuck E. Cheese. It's been a minute since I've been there.) To Riverport's credit, the sound was incredible. Like, I've never heard better sound at a concert. Certainly not at the Pageant. They must have figured you're way the fuck out in the field like that, the least they could do is turn the shit up loud enough so that you can hear it. It's not like they have any neighbors out there in Earth City.
And Radiohead themselves generally sounded really good, with the caveat that their setlist last night was very In Rainbows and post-Kid A heavy, and I just plain don't care as much about the recent stuff as I do the early stuff. And the few older songs they did play last night (like three joints from OK Computer, and two from The Bends, and that's it) didn't sound nearly as tight as some of the newer stuff, which was fucking fierce. In order for me to have gone to a Radiohead show with the setlist I would've liked best, I probably should've seen them back during the Kid A era, if not earlier.
Not that I can complain too much (though clearly I have), I'm just saying. Let's just hope they get at least some of these issues ironed out by the time I see them again this summer, at Lollapalooza.