Santa Barbara has to be the most simultaneously beautiful and boring city on earth. Every street and passageway is flanked by gigantic palms trees and inordinately large pink flowers drowning in sunlight the color and intensity of gold. Yet, my cronies and I spent the entire afternoon at a small booth in a Subway sandwich shop and in our parked car sipping Mike’s Hard Lemonade bought at a grocery store. We couldn’t find a bar or a patio or even a shop where the average pulse of its customers was over 15. Made no sense to me.
What did make sense to me was watching Thom Yorke dance around a stage as if he were actually happy to be alive. Thom has either been through some rigorous therapy or is being force fed Prozac, probably both. He seemed genuinely *jubilant* and *thrilled* to be in front of an audience, breaking out the charisma as if he were the leader of the free world. He had us in the palm of his baby-sized hands and instead of choking us in his usual cynicism, he joked with us and stroked us affectionately. What a delightful departure from his sour-pussed days of the late 90′s. I love you Thom. Not in a pervy, groupie girl kind of infatuation, no. You are human and real and lovely.
Outside of Thom’s near slap-happiness, the est of the show was obviously, astoundingly, disarmingly brilliant. Radiohead still produce better guitar sound than any band in the world. They sound better live than anything they’ve ever recorded. The set was seamless, the light and effects production explosive, yet subtle. And they ended the night on “Fake Plastic Trees,” bringing the crowd to near tears.
Saturday night after the concert, I had a dream that after the second encore, Thom was so overcome with joy that he did a stage dive into the crowd at the front of the stage. Several hooligans, including my good friend Sam Cannon, seized Thom’s tiny body, threw him to the pavement and began stomping on him with such angered abandon that everyone shrieked in fear for Thom’s life. The whole time Sam stomped on him he screamed, “I hate you Thom Yorke and your sissy-boy excuse for rock. You suck, you suck, you suck. You suck.”
I don’t know if I can forgive Sam for this.