Bonnaroo 2012 (Godfather Records GR771/772)
Bonnaroo Festival, Manchester, TN – June 8th, 2012
Disc 1 (78:25): Bloom, 15 Step, Kid A, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Staircase, The Daily Mail, I Might Be Wrong, The Gloaming, Separator, Nude, Magpie, Identikit, Lotus Flower, There There, Karma Police
Disc 2 (75:45): Feral, Idioteque, You and Whose Army?, House Of Cards, Supercollider, Bodysnatchers, True Love Waits / Everything In Its Right Place, Give Up The Ghost, Reckoner, Paranoid Android. Bonus tracks, Saturday Night Live – September 26th, 2011: Lotus Flower, Staircase. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – October 3rd, 2011: Give Up The Ghost
When the lineup for Bonnaroo 2012 was published, Radiohead drew much intrigue. Their appearance at the festival in 2006 is one of their all-time legendary shows, playing a set full of older hits and a handful of newer tunes. Bonnaroo 2012 on Godfather offers the complete two and a half hour set taken from the webcast. As such, it has perfect sound quality and is a very nice souvenir of their set.
Many of the reviews were positive, pointing out that, instead of rehashing their set from five years ago, Radiohead instead played a twenty-five song get that leaned heavily towards newer material. The aesthetic strattles a line between ordered, repetitive dance grooves and chaotic synthesizer melodies.
Rolling Stone magazine pointed out that ” While Thom Yorke and Co. weeded out a few thousand hit chasers in the crowd by eschewing well-known favorites like ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ and ‘No Surprises,’ they held tens of thousands more spellbound with a textured tableau of intertwining rhythmic arrangements — augmented by the addition of auxiliary drummer Clive Deamer – and nuanced sonics, with some latter-day catalog cuts emerging as concert anthems. When Yorke howled out the chorus of In Rainbows standout ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,’ he cued an en masse singalong that sounded like a tidal wave ripping across a human sea of 80,000.”
Even the New York Times pointed this out when Jon Pareles pointed out that, “Friday night at Bonnaroo was the follow-through: Radiohead the rhythm band, hitting groove after groove and riding them to darkly kinetic places….
“But it was the music itself that made the best patterns: drumbeats and tangles of guitars, live and looped, bending funk into odd meters or twisting and untwisting, starting out transparent before some massive distorted keyboard texture plunged the whole assembly into ominous shadows. The rhythmic sinew of each song was exposed and vital, whether the music was moving through Beatles-like harmonies or bearing down on a handful of repeating chords.”
Overall, it is a very demanding and challenging set, pointed out in the review titled “Bonnaroo: Radiohead’s Festival Evolution.” It states that “Apart from ‘Karma Police’ and ‘Paranoid Android,’ Radiohead refused to throw softballs to casual fans in the audience.
“It was a challenging show, filled with the sort of cerebral, experimental music that requires more of its audience than most Bonnaroo headlining sets. Even when a group of amped-up fans near the soundbooth began setting off their own fireworks during “Reckoning,” though, it was hard to take your eyes off the action up front. For a minute there, we all lost ourselves.”
Godfather include, in addition to the Bonnaroo set, excellent sounding bonus tracks from American television “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” playing some songs. Bonnaroo 2012 is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold sleeve with artwork taken from the festival’s website. For Radiohead fans, this is an excellent release worth having.