What a way to make an entrance! Despite a fiery manhole explosion that left much of the area around New York City's Roseland Ballroom off Times Square cordoned off by police and fire trucks last night (and shut down several area Broadway shows, including Jersey Boys), Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke took the stage with his side project, supergroup Atoms for Peace, in a stellar, sold-out show that did not disappoint in the least.
I hightailed it over to the second night of Yorke's anticipated Big Apple shows after checking out the world's next great pop diva -- mark both my and Oprah's words! -- Charice, at a private showcase at the Canal Room. And despite the massive frenzy outside and an hour-long delay for Yorke to hit the stage, the mood onstage was surprisingly energized compared to his usual moody display with his day-job band.
Maybe credit the new band backing him up and it's most notable standout -- a Smurf blue-haired Flea who pepped up the place with his Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe that seemed to infuse the usually demure Yorke with extra gusto. The setlist relied heavily on Yorke's electronic 2006 solo record, The Eraser (like a sensational version of the single, "Black Swan"), but also included some new material and Radiohead nuggets like "Judge, Jury and Executioner," "Paperback Writer" and "Everything In It's Right Place." Perhaps the best moments though were when Yorke flicked off the impressive overhead light displays and took to his acoustic guitar and piano for a stunning solo encore set, which included a sitrring cover of Miracle Legion's "All For The Best."
Sure, there was major drama outside and Yorke tried his version of being chatty by mumbling a few somewhat incomprehensible lines to the audience but all the right fire was on the stage. This is what you get!