During Thom Yorke’s rare solo performance on Sunday afternoon at the Latitude Festival’s Obelisk Arena, some misanthropic wag in the crowd said loudly: “I wish they’d put the big screens on so we can see how bad his hair looks.” I’m happy to say it wasn’t me.
I had mixed feelings about seeing Thom Yorke at Latitude, but it had nothing to do with the state of his hair or even the redundant ‘h’ in his forename. It had been twelve years since I’d seen Radiohead for the first – and, as it turned out, the last – time. That was at Glastonbury 1997, and their set was a moment of sublime and transcendent perfection for me. I never saw them live again, in no small part because it was one of my all-time favourite live music experiences and I wanted it to stay that way. I was also acutely aware that I still hadn’t found the money or time to buy or listen to his 2006 Radioheadless offering, The Eraser, and felt rather guilty about it. I hear it’s very good, but as I haven’t heard it yet I can’t possibly comment.
I wasn’t planning to slip out early as the gig overlapped with the Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard set at the Music and Film Arena. As it happened, Clare, Lily & I were so entranced by Thom Yorke’s performance – which, yes, included Radiohead tracks like Everything in it’s Right Place, There There and Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – that we decided to stay until the end.
After all, it had been twelve years since I last saw Radiohead. It had only been twelve hours since I last saw Jeffrey Lewis.
Here’s some Thom Yorke at Latitude YouTubery courtesy of various public-spirited (and better-positioned) festival-goers: