Pardon the interruption...but excitement demands I post.
Late Monday night, we reluctantly returned from a quick and busy (2+ days) jaunt to San Francisco, which is now officially my favorite U.S. city.
A few highlights...
In the early afternoon, we took in a Giants-A's game at the fantastic AT&T ballpark which sits directly on the bay. As luck would have it, we were there to witness Barry Bonds hit his 719th homerun. The place went crazy. Giants fans may be the only people around who still cheer for this much maligned sports figure, but I can understand why. Regardless of one's opinion about Bonds, it is a thrill to see him play in person.
Back to the hotel to re-group, take a nap and allow anticipation to build for the featured event of the trip...Radiohead in concert at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA.
As dusk fell on the bay, we caught the BART (San Fran's train/subway) over to Berkeley's Univ of Cali campus. The Greek Theatre is a stellar outdoor venue, perched on top of a hill and surrounded by woods. The temperature was cool but comfortable and the atmosphere bordered on surreal as fog began to roll into the amphitheatre almost on cue.
Opener Deerhoof played a tight but brief set. Judging on the reaction (or lack thereof) among those around us, we were in the minority as Deerhoof fans; strange since they are a San Francisco band known for their blazingly fierce live act. But honestly, I was shamefully thankful for a quick opening act.
As Radiohead appeared on the stage, the crowd roared to life in a communal orgasm of excitement. Beginning with a stomping version of Airbag, Thom & Co. proceeded to blow us all away with an outstanding set of the familiar (2+2=5, Myxamatosis, Paranoid Android and Black Star to name a few of the more raucous selections) sprinkled with a teasing taste of promising new tunes (15 Step, Down is the New Up, All I Need and Arpeggi were my favorites). The gang of five were in a festive mood, full of energy and confidence but sincerely gracious of the reception. For me, the most goosebump-inducing moment came at the end of the first encore. Thom performed a haunting solo version of True Love Waits on a Fender Rhodes piano while Ed and Jonny sampled, remixed and regurgitated snippets and segments live on stage...as it reached a climax, the entire band joined in to seamlessly segue into Everything In Its Right Place. It was fuckin' amazing. A written description doesn't do it justice of course, but you can always download the show in its entirety via EZ Torrent (registration is required). Actually, we were pretty close to the stage and even managed to do a little amateur bootlegging ourselves with mixed results. So, yes, it was a brilliant performance. I had the time of my life. It was easily the best live show I have ever seen. Can't wait for the new album in 2007.
3. Where I End And You Begin
4. 15 Step (NEW)
5. Kid A
6. Dollars And Cents
7. Down Is The New Up (NEW)
8. Nude (NEW)
9. Paranoid Android
10. No Surprises
11. The Gloaming
12. All I Need (NEW)
13. Climbing Up The Walls
14. Go Slowly (NEW)
16. Bangers 'N Mash (NEW)
17. How To Disappear Completely
18. Fake Plastic Trees
19. Arpeggi (NEW)
20. Black Star
21. True Love Waits (Thom only on Rhodes, intro to EIIRP)
22. Everything In Its Right Place
23. Bodysnatchers (NEW)
24. The Tourist
A host of walking excursions into fabulous (but sadistically slanted) San Francisco neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Nob Hill, Pacific Heights and then down to the Fisherman's Wharf district for a ferry ride around the bay (Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, etc.) and then back to walk along the many piers.
Another nap, only this time we awake after an alarm mishap with only 30 minutes to hike up Nob Hill and back down again to Bimbo's 365 Club to catch our 2nd highly-anticipated event of the weekend: Neko Case. Bimbo's is this great, plush dinner club with red velvet decor and just a very cool vibe unlike any club I've been to. Thankfully, we made it just in time to see Neko Case (for the fifth time) and she puts on a fantastic show each and every time out. I won't do a blow-by-blow for her but maybe I'll get my wife to write a post for us.
Now, honestly, what are the chances that my favorite band and my wife's favorite band are both playing in the same town on consecutive nights?! I don't know and I don't care. I just know that the live music Gods aligned the stars just right for us on two unforgettable nights in San Francisco.