Concert Reviews

Radiohead – Madison Square Garden (July 27th, 2016) – Concert Review

Radiohead – Madison Square Garden (July 27th, 2016) – Concert Review

Trevor Davies

July 28th, 2016

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07.27.2016 – NEW YORK CITY, NY – Rewind to the beginning of 2016 for a second. Radiohead had just dropped a scraped song for the James Bond: Spectre movie. Hype was at an all time high for Radiohead fans. We knew the band was recording, but didn’t have the slightest clue as to when we would be able to hear the new music. Fast forward to March, the band announces that they’re going on tour. I knew I had to score tickets, this was something I couldn’t pass up. With there only being two arena shows for the east coast in North America (both being Madison Square Garden) I knew it was going to be quite the effort trying to score tickets. Thankfully I was able to score two GA tickets through the band’s presale. Now it was March when the tickets were purchased, I had to wait an agonizing four months for the show to arrive. However, Radiohead was able to relieve my hype for the show by releasing their ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pooland two music videos to go with it.

I’ve never been to Madison Square Garden, so the entire venue was new to me. The atmosphere was terrific, people of all ages gathered in the pit waiting to see their favorite band come on stage. People all around me were discussing how many times they have seen Radiohead in the past. I generally heard the 3rd, or 5th show coming from people, however, this was my first Radiohead show and it being at Madison Square Garden I knew I was in for a treat. The previous night the band played a stellar set, playing the likes of “15 Step,” and “Let Down” for the first time in about ten years.

The opening act for the show was an electronic instrumental band, Dawn of Midi. The opener came on around 7:45pm, and to be frank, any electric energy from the crowd just seemed to disappear in a matter of seconds. I tried to go into the show with an open mind for the opener, however, I just couldn’t dig the music. They played a ~35 minute set that just seemed to be the same 3-4 notes the entire time. People around me kept looking at their watch just waiting for the band to get off the stage. Usually I’m always intrigued by an opening band, however, when you’re an electronic instrumental band opening for Radiohead you’re going to have a difficult time keeping the attention of the crowd.

Radiohead Live

Radiohead preforming “Bloom” live.

Finally, 8:45pm rolls around and the band takes the stage and opens with “Burn The Witch.” Coming into the show I wasn’t quite sure how the band was going to make the song work live. However, it seems the band removed the strings section of the song and replaced it with backing guitars. It rocked so hard I couldn’t believe it. The band cruised their way through the first five songs of A Moon Shaped Pool. “Ful Stop” was a treat to see live. Thom was dancing around the stage like a mad man with a synth in hand. Hearing “Ful Stop” when it was debuted on their King of Limbs tour left me speechless, so seeing it live for myself with an unbelievable light show was like a dream come true.

Thom screaming into his guitar at the end of "Climbing Up The Walls."

Thom screaming into his guitar at the end of “Climbing Up The Walls.”

After years of listening to Radiohead bootlegs and soundboard rips “Climbing Up The Walls” has always been a live favorite of mine. The way Jonny tunes into a local radio station and incorporates that into the music is simply stunning. When the band started playing it I was left dumbfounded. Jonny tuned into a station that was talking about United States politics which only seemed fitting. At the end of the track Thom ended up screaming into his guitar which left the majority of the band members smiling. “Bloom” is another track that has always stood out to me as a track that sounds better live. When played live Jonny has a little drum set of his own, and it looked like he was having the time of his life.

At the end of the main set, the band went out with a bang. “Weird Fishes” is my favorite song of all time, when the opening chords started I was smiling so hard I probably looked like an idiot. There’s something about seeing a band playing one of your favorite songs that feels like something I can only describe as a religious experience. The band followed that up with “Everything In It’s Right Place” and “Idioteque.” During “Idioteque,” everyone around me was moving and dancing. A woman behind me turned to someone and said with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, “is this real life? I feel like I’m in a dream.” And honestly I couldn’t put it any other way myself, this concert was so fantastic you truly thought you were dreaming.

In the first encore the band played “Let Down” just as they did the night before. Before the show started people who weren’t at the show the previous night were worried that weren’t going to see it live. At the beginning of the track I heard a sigh of relief coming from a numerous amount of people around me. The band closed out the first encore with their hit song “Karma Police.” The entire arena was singing along with Thom and co. I could feel the goosebumps crawl up my arms as I joined in on the singing.

As if the night couldn’t have been anymore perfect, the band decided to close the show with their most popular song “Creep.” Now the band has said multiple times that they really don’t like the song, and the fact that before 2016 it hasn’t been played since 2009 proves this. Thom’s vocals were absolutely stellar on this track. This man still has the pipes and can boast out the climax of the song like it’s no big deal. Seeing the band play this song will probably stay as a highlight of my life for years to come.

Crowd's reaction to Radioihead playing "Creep" live.

Crowd’s reaction to Radiohead playing “Creep” live.

As I sat down to write this review, I found myself wondering if I should even attempt to do it. This review doesn’t do the show justice. I could talk about Radiohead and this show for hours, but I don’t think words can explain how magical of an experience it was. All I can say is, if you ever have the opportunity to see this band live, make sure you seize that opportunity because it will change the way you view concerts, or maybe the way you view music in general.


[Main Set]

  • Burn The Witch
  • Daydreaming
  • Decks Dark
  • Desert Island Disk
  • Ful Stop
  • My Iron Lung
  • Climbing Up The Walls
  • Morning Mr Magpie
  • Pyramid Song
  • Bloom
  • Identikit
  • The Numbers
  • Gloaming
  • Weird Fishes
  • Everything In It’s Right Place
  • Idioteque
  • There There


  • Give Up The Ghost
  • Let Down
  • Present Tense
  • Planet Telex
  • Karma Police


  • Reckoner
  • Creep