Page last updated at 03:24 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 04:24 UK

Radiohead delight with classics

By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Thom Yorke
The band ended their set with Everything In Its Right Place, from album Kid A

Radiohead have delighted the crowd at Reading with some of their old classics in the second of two weekend festival shows - their only 2009 UK appearances.

Thom Yorke and co began the set, which was markedly different from that played at the Leeds Festival the night before, with 1993 fans' favourite Creep.

Festival-goers were then treated to a slew of vintage songs including five from 1997 album OK Computer.

Fan Alex Sternberg, 40, hailed the two-hour show as a "pretty awesome effort".

I thought it was great, a fantastic live show with old songs and new songs
Fan Alex Sternberg

"Reckoner [from latest album In Rainbows] was good; most of the stuff from OK Computer's brilliant," the doctor, from Oxford, said.

"I thought it was great, a fantastic live show with old songs and new songs."

"I thought the new song, These Are My Twisted Words, was very good."

For Mr Sternberg and other Radiohead fans, though, the release of the song as a one-off free download could spell the end of an era.

One-off releases

Earlier this month, singer Yorke, 40, said making albums had "just become a real drag" for the band, suggesting they would concentrate on one-off releases.

These also include the band's release through their website of Harry Patch (In Memory Of), a song about the last British survivor of the World War I trenches.

Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke kept the audience amused with witty one-liners in between songs

Given the enduring quality of the likes of The Bends, Kid A and, of course, OK Computer, it is to be hoped this is not a long-term policy.

On Sunday night, the band played OK Computer tracks Climbing Up The Walls, Exit Music (For a Film), Lucky, Paranoid Android and Karma Police.

Perhaps the most spiritual moment of the night came during Karma Police when the entire crowd sang along with Yorke's repeated mantra-like line: "For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself."

Close competition for that title, though, came during Street Spirit (Fade Out), from 1995 album The Bends, when the crowd again sang along as one: "And fade out again, and fade out again."

The band - who shared the bill with, among others, Bloc Party and Vampire Weekend - also played seven songs from 2007's In Rainbows.

The Radiohead live experience is enriched by their ability to build songs to crescendos - pumped full of adrenaline by the guitar heroics of Jonny Greenwood - that transcend even those of their recorded masterpieces.

The show's set - which featured a series of tubular bell-like giant lights as well as creative split screens of the different band members - was the perfect compliment to Radiohead's often abstract sound.

The spectacle of Yorke's idiosyncratic freaky dancing, meanwhile, will also stay in the memory for some time to come.

Natural sound

On record, Radiohead have organically merged electronica with rock music in a way that is unmatched by their peers.

On Sunday night, the electronic rhythms of tracks like Idioteque, from 2000's Kid A; The Gloaming, from 2003's Hail To The Thief; and 15 Step, from In Rainbows, were beefed up by drummer Phil Selway in a similarly natural-sounding way.

At the start of 15 Step - a track which has five beats in every bar rather than the usual four of most rock music - the band ambitiously started clapping out a rhythm which it encouraged the crowd to join in with.

Only Radiohead would attempt such a feat. Needless to say, the audience failed miserably to join in with the syncopated pattern.



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