Live photos/review: Radiohead at Roseland Ballroom

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  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

  • Photograph: David Gettens

Photograph: David Gettens

A band both notorious and beloved for its unpredictability, Radiohead confirmed this reputation last week by announcing two surprise-attack NYC shows, inciting breathless hype among local fanatics. Tickets sold out immediately, launching a bevy of want ads on Craigslist offering hundreds of dollars, a hot date and, well, just about anything; in advance of last night's opening show, aspiring concertgoers swarmed Roseland hours beforehand, and the line for will-call stretched well around the block.

As hot a discussion topic as the scarce tickets was the potential set list: Would the British cult-rockers play primarily in support of their latest effort, the moody and electronic but tepidly received The King of Limbs? Or would the show feature favorites from the band's nearly 20-year career, as concerts like these—last-minute gifts to fans—often do?

It seemed like the buzzy and thrilled crowd, which included Cameron Diaz and Philip Seymour Hoffman, would have been happy if Radiohead performed nursery rhymes. The faithful were definitely rewarded in terms of depth and richness. Drawing heavily from TKOL material, the band performed all but one song from "the world's first newspaper album" that was dropped out of nowhere earlier this year, to the great delight of many a committed Radioheader. These jagged and minimal songs, such as standouts "Little by Little" and "Mr. Magpie," sent concertgoers into a feverish, awkward frenzy that gave Thom Yorke's solo dance-athon on "Lotus Flower" a run for its money.

The set also featured unreleased material: the subtle but busy "Staircase," which the band played on Saturday Night Live earlier this week, and the slow-building, guitar-rockin' "Daily Mail." Vintage selections were also in the mix, of course, and the rare live performance of OK Computer's "Subterranean Homesick Alien" surely brought many fans close to an excitement-induced collapse. The one-two punch of "All I Need" and "Everything in Its Right Place" sandwiched a teaser of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love," a shout-out to the band's recent demise.

As a three-song encore proved insufficient for fans (shouts of "five more songs!" echoed throughout the venue as stage crew began breaking down), Radiohead had no choice but to return and perform an excellent—and, it seemed, truly impromptu—second encore.

Set List

Bloom
Little by Little
Staircase
Arpeggi
Feral
Subterranean Homesick Alien
All I Need
Everything in Its Right Place
Lotus Flower
15 Step
Myxomatosis (Judge, Jury & Executioner)
Codex
Daily Mail
Bodysnatchers
Reckoner
—--
Give Up the Ghost
Nathional Anthem
Mr. Magpie
—--
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Nude

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