With tickets on offer online yesterday for as much as GBP3,800, the traditional touts were forlorn and empty-handed outside the first of Radiohead’s three shows in Camden The Roundhouse is a lovely venue but it seemed particularly cruel for such a beloved band to play their first UK shows in four years to just 3,000 people a night. “I’m as fucked off as you are,” Thom Yorke tweeted when the shows inevitably sold out in nanoseconds, but the thought of the O2 was obviously more depressing.
Yet the evening found his band in relatively crowd-pleasing form, offering a handful of songs from their second and third albums, including My Iron Lung and Exit Music (For a Film), acting as the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. The Gloaming, tuneless and jittery, sounded like a parody of a difficult Radiohead song in contrast.
It can take a while for Radiohead albums to be considered favourably. Idioteque, from Kid A, so frighteningly unexpected at the time, was greeted like a stadium blockbuster here. However the new album, A Moon Shaped Pool, is an obvious beauty. It lacked the string orchestra to bring its entire warmth to life this evening, but the sparse piano of Decks Dark was bliss. It sounds insulting to suggest that a band as forward-thinking as this have found a happy middle ground, but no one apart from the touts would have gone home disappointed.