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Edinburgh Corn Exchange on 21st May 2003
Reviewed by Graeme on 25th May 2003

One of the most anticipated tours of the year for one of the most anticipated albums of the year, as soon as Radiohead announced they would be doing a small "club sized" tour to promote Hail To The Thief, touts were practically instantly on eBay making a killing. (How much did I pay? Triple figures. I shall say no more.)

For those that have never been, the Corn Exchange is located annoyingly far away from the main city centre. The street on which it is situated also happened to have sprung some sort of drain blockage on Wednesday night, creating a small river for everyone to cross to get to the doors. But enough about the venue's shortcomings and onto the music.

For some of the dates on this tour (including Edinburgh) there is no support band, so we had to endure a fair wait until the band came onstage (around 8:40pm). Taking to the stage to the same electronic tune that accompanied them on the European tour last year, Radiohead launched into new single There There and album opener 2+2=5 before actually addressing the crowd. Much of the night's banter with the audience was centered around the football (UEFA cup final featuring a Scottish team was taking place at the same time) which felt very strange coming from a band such as Radiohead.

The setlist was a varied set from all of Radioheads albums (excluding Pablo Honey) including the likes of The National Anthem, My Iron Lung, Where I End And You Begin and Paranoid Android. Radiohead promised to debut at least one new song for the first time in the UK each night, and tonight Edinburgh were treated to A Wolf At The Door's first UK performance.

As previously mentioned the band were in high spirits, and as well as the frequent football updates Thom Yorke pulled off some frantic dancing during BackDrifts and Idioteque. And plenty of hilarity ensued when he attempted to teach the audience We Suck Young Blood's off-time handclaps. Having previously witnessed the band sullenly trudge through live sets, this was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

With two encores (the second of which including live favourite Talk Show Host) Radiohead played for nearly two hours and covered nearly all their classic tracks. For those that missed out, they are undertaking a "proper" tour of arena venues later this year - but the atmosphere of these club gigs will be unmatched. Awesome.

Rating: 10/10
Website: www.radiohead.co.uk


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