Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Paul Wellman

I am lucky to say that my first concert was Radiohead at the S.B. Bowl in 2001. I was only 13. To that end, like a lot of RH fans, it becomes difficult to separate my love for its music with the emotional arc of my life since it’s been so personally a part of it. With a set list that dug deep into its catalog, Radiohead’s 2017 return to the Bowl on Tuesday, April 11, was one of the best and most moving times I’ve seen a band for whom praise like mine is as common as oxygen.

Opener Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis were fascinating and hypnotic, reinterpreting their family’s famous Iraqi melodies with intricate, whirling beauty. Radiohead followed by leaving out its bigger songs and playing instead less-expected favorites such as “Like Spinning Plates” and “Let Down.” In many ways, the band is now at the height of its powers. The group is able to re-energize older songs with the dynamic, dissonant darkness that was always its strong suit and also stand out with some of its newest works, such as “Identikit,” a live highlight.

As the world has turned darker, Radiohead, too, has embraced its most melancholic side, and I, like many, couldn’t imagine a life without the help of its sonic aid. Thanks for another great show, RH.


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