MANCHESTER, Tennessee — With two very different albums under their belt since they last graced the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s farm with their fabled 2006 appearance, Radiohead more than lived up to the hype with their Friday night return at the 11th annual event.
Starting out with The King of Limbs’ propulsive opening cut, “Bloom,” the icons heavily favored their newer tracks when they brought their world tour to Tennessee, also adding “Give Up the Ghost,” “Lotus Flower” and “Morning Mr Magpie” to the set.
In that legendary 2006 show, during which they delighted with an epic 28 songs, they tried out six new tunes that successfully made their way onto 2007’s In Rainbows. They represented that diverse album Friday night with fan favorite “15 Step,” “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” “Nude” and “Bodysnatchers.” The recording’s “Reckoner” inspired amateur fireworks.
With Amnesiac’s “I Might Be Wrong,” their dancy live version of Hail to the Thief’s “The Gloaming” and Kid A rave-up “Idioteque,” the set list was decidedly more energetic than the mellower selections they presented at the Coachella festival in April.
Halfway through the set, just as casual fans were no doubt wondering whether they were going to hear anything familiar, “Karma Police” gave them the chance to participate in the “This is what you get when you mess with us” singalong.
Another highlight was the “True Love Waits” lullaby seguing into “Everything In Its Right Place,” when a ponytailed Thom Yorke had everyone clapping along as he took to his keyboard. Radiohead also performed two new songs: “Identikit” and the groovy “Supercollider,” which Yorke said was “for Jack White.”
As their scheduled midnight end time came and went, Yorke announced, “We bid you all farewell,” before answering the wishes of many by ending with “Paranoid Android,” dedicating it to “all the people we can’t see in the back.”
Earlier in the day, Tune-yards jammed out the sax solo on “Bizness,” Sharon Jones commanded the main stage in the afternoon in a shiny bright-pink cocktail dress and Foster the People brought their feel-good tunes. Friday also featured Feist, Ludacris, Major Lazer, and Mos Def and Talib Kweli joining forces as Black Star.
Jam-band mainstays Umphrey’s McGee, Flying Lotus and Dumpstaphunk, who busted out David Bowie’s “Fame,” kept fans dancing until the early morning.
Still to come this weekend: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Skrillex, Alice Cooper and the Roots will take the stage Saturday (June 9), and the Beach Boys, Phish, the Shins, Fun. and Bon Iver will wrap things up Sunday.
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