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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Radiohead's big top thrills
Radiohead
Kid A: Tried out on fans in live shows
Radiohead continue their tour of the British Isles this week with dates in Glasgow and Warrington, before the release of their long-awaited album Kid A on 2 October. BBC News Online's Alfred Hermida reviews Monday night's show at Victoria Park in London.

Under a big top in a field in London, with Victorian lettering on the tickets, this could have been billed as the greatest show on earth.

From the grinding opening bars of The National Anthem off the imminent Kid A album, Radiohead gripped the crowd and didn't let go for the next two hours.

The pounding bass of this new track sets the tone for the rest of the album. Radiohead have moved away from guitars in favour of heavy bass lines and electronic beats.

Radiohead tour dates
28, 29 September: Glasgow Green, Glasgow
1, 2, 3 October: Victoria Park, Warrington
6, 7, 8 October: Punchestown Racecourse, Dublin
Late October: USA and Canada
This was most noticeable on Idioteque, a sort of Radiohead meets Kraftwerk, with Thom Yorke's vocal melodies driving the track along.

He twitched on stage like a man possessed as the hard-edged percussion echoed through the canvas tent.

Blistering rock

Though the purpose of the tour is to showcase the new album, Radiohead know what their fans want. So the beats of Idioteque were quickly followed up by one of their most anthemic songs, Just.

This is when Radiohead are at their best live. Old favourites like My Iron Lung and The Bends showed that they're still capable of returning to their rock roots.

A blistering performance of Paranoid Android sent the crowd wild, while the sound of 10,000 people singing along with Thom Yorke to Karma Police was a truly uplifting experience.

As if the material from the new album was not enough, Radiohead also treated the crowd to several unreleased tracks. Introducing these new songs, Yorke admitted the band didn't know what they were going to do with them.

Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke: Unsure about his new tracks
One of them, I Might Be Wrong, was described by Yorke as a disco track. Another, Knives Out, was reminiscent of the intricate guitar rhythms of OK Computer.

Wealth of talent

The plethora of new tracks does seem to back up rumours that the band have enough material for an another album.

There have been suggestions it could be released in the spring of 2001, though in a recent interview, Yorke was reluctant to commit himself.

Radiohead closed with Motion Picture Soundtrack, which must be the most beautiful song on Kid A.

While it bears Thom Yorke's trademark anguished vocals, the band have given it a new twist, by abandoning guitars in favour of the organ and double bass, giving the song extra poignancy.

Radiohead's new material might not be to everyone's taste. But on the strength of the live performance, there can be no doubt that they are still one of the most talented and innovative bands in Britain.

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See also:

22 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Radiohead's canvas comeback
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