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Concert Reviews:
Radiohead makes triumphant Detroit return at the Palace

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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AUBURN HILLS -- Early on in Radiohead's show on Monday night, June 11, at the Palace, frontman Thom Yorke sang that "just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there."

But something, specifically a sense of special occasion, was absolutely there as the enigmatic British group played its first Detroit-area -- and Michigan, for that matter -- concert in 15 years.

Much has transpired during the time since the quintet's 1997 stop at the State Theatre (now the Fillmore Detroit), including five albums and three Grammy Awards. And while the selections from that year's defining "OK Computer" album -- "Karma Police," "Climbing Up the Walls," the gentle "Exit Music (For a Film)" and the suite-like "Paranoid Android" -- were clear favorites of Monday's non-sellout crowd of 14,000, the 23-song, two-hour and 10-minute show was a chance for both the band and its Detroit fans to play catch-up and revel in the dazzingly impressive and enigmatic avant rock musical journey Radiohead has taken during the interim.

Bolstered by a light show emanating mostly from large rear-stage screens and a dozen panels floating above the band, Radiohead started out in a decidedly present mode, focusing on 2011's Grammy-nominated "The King of Limbs" with the opening number "Bloom," a pounding "Morning Mr. Magpie" and the grooving "Separator," along with the B-side "Staircase." Yorke, whose beard and short pony tail made him look like he was still at the previous weekend's Bonnaroo festival, danced like a sprite while his bandmates -- including touring second drummer Clive Deamer -- hunkered over their instruments, delivering furious rhythmic tattoos beneath washes of guitar and keyboard effects. Though there were occasional moments of slowing down ("Pyramid Song," "Nude") Radiohead spent most of the night going for the jugular, from the melodic countenance of "Separator" and the gritty groove of "I Might Be Wrong" to the subtle Latin flavor of "Feral" and the full-on rave-ups "Lotus Flower," "Little By Little," and "Myxomatosis" (and how many bands do you know that name songs after rabbit disease?).

Radiohead also pulled out a brand new song -- and urgent, discoey tune called "Full Stop" -- and Yorke dipped into a soulful falsetto for "Reckoner." He and guitarist/keyboardist Jonny Greenwood delivered a duo rendition of "Give Up the Ghost," with Yorke looping his own backing vocals into the mix, and the frontman sang a snippet of Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" before the group closed the night with the cacophony of "Everything in It's Right Place."

That all made the Palace the right place to be on Monday, and hopefully was the resumption of a relationship that will bring Radiohead back again before, oh, 2027.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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