Multiple legendary Santa Barbara Bowl appearances by Radiohead have honed our appreciation for frontman Thom Yorke’s mesmerizing vocals, riveting stage presence, and even for his inimitable dancing. In a trio format on Friday, October 25, at the Bowl, Yorke worked through 20 numbers, with 12 of them drawn from his two solo albums, Anima and Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, and the rest a mix of Atoms for Peace songs and even one Radiohead tune, “Like Spinning Plates,” delivered as a second encore.
Yorke was in top form all night, seamlessly blending a richly colored palette of electronica punctuated by bursts of piano ballads and backed by soaring visuals. Collaborators Nigel Godrich and live projection artist Tarik Barri laid down a bed of inviting textures for Yorke to play on, over, under, and through.
As tightly as Yorke communicated with his bandmembers, the musical conversation often seemed to be as much with his adoring audience. Rapt listeners swayed to the rhythm while Yorke traced visions in the air with his arms and torso. Seldom has a performer achieved this kind of grace or confidence. Long may he continue to share his unique gifts.