Coachella 2012: Radiohead, for better or worse


Who: Radiohead on the main stage
In 3 or Fewer Words: No Floyd cover.
Memorable Because: Not only was Radiohead’s set a work of art, they didn’t cover Pink Floyd. After the Shins’ tepid excursion in the 8 o’clock hour – during which they played a blasé version of “Breathe” – Thom Yorke and friends cut through the biting evening chill with a visually spectacular set that started glitchy, built to huge finish and excluded anything from “The Bends” (which, this being Coachella and all, festival-goers might have hoped for). With the crowd wrapped in blankets and sweatshirts, or creating body head by shimmying to the band’s frenetic beats, Radiohead went heavy on material from its past two releases, “In Rainbows” and “King of Limbs.” The peak was probably “Karma Police,” but perhaps the most fun was dissecting the performance later with Radioheadheads (of which I am not, this was only my third time). Better than 2004? Not as good as the Santa Barbara Bowl? Nothing like that time back in ’01? It’s like standing at a museum in front of a Van Gogh and nitpicking the brushstrokes. You still walk away deeply moved … even if you secretly wish Radiohead would have covered their ’90s selves.
What I’d Tell My Friends Who Were at Kaskade: You had a far better chance of staying warm.
– K.B.


Who: Radiohead on the Main Stage
In 3 or Fewer Words: Oh hey, Radiohead.
Memorable Because: I watched Radiohead play “Karma Police” from atop the Ferris wheel. Only at Coachella.
What I’d Tell My Friends Who Were at A$AP Rocky: Did you lose yourself? I sure did.
– Ben “Mouse” McShane