Friday, October 2, 2009

THOM YORKE - Bridge School Benefit Concerts, 2002

Rockin' so heavy on the Muse lately has reminded me that the great Matthew Bellamy does in fact have a few other vocal models besides Freddie Mercury, the main one of course being Radiohead's Thom Yorke. That thought led me to track down one of my all-time fave live boots, by anyone, not least because I beheld both of these unforgettable solo performances with my own eyes and ears.

What makes these shows so interesting -- aside from the sheer deep feeling of Yorke's singing and piano/guitar playing -- is that seven years ago, Yorke had no identity as a solo artist; the release of his debut album The Eraser was almost four years in the future. So it was just...odd to see this little guy walk out onstage, alone, right at sunset (a magic moment during any outdoor festival, when the stage lights turn on, everyone is nicely buzzed, and you can finally focus on the music instead of the scene).

But, as you will hear, it took about ten seconds for anyone there paying attention (which, sadly, didn't include everyone in the vicinity of our heroic taper) to realize that something very special was happening. This was especially surprising and thrilling given that what Yorke performed on both nights was not "Creep" or "Fake Plastic Trees," but the weird shit, the heavy shit, the bleepy-whooshy-squiggly electronic shit from OK Computer and Kid A and Amnesiac. On his own old guitar and Neil Young's old piano. Miraculous, really.

In short, two of my favorite live performances ever. Thanks to whoever out there did such a brilliant job of taping this clear, crisp, rich and full recording.

THOM YORKE "Acoustic Solo"
Bridge School Benefit Concert
Shoreline Amphitheatre - Mountain View, CA
October 26 and 27, 2002 (AUD @ 320 kbps)