Radiohead Deliver The Goods

Last time Radiohead played San Francisco, they had a hard time

selling out the 1,200-capacity Fillmore. This time, there were

fans begging for tickets outside the larger Warfield theater.

Radiohead's day has come and their performance last night at the

Warfield proved it. As more than 2,000 (mostly newfound) fans screamed, cheered

and clapped, the band dove full-force into song after glorious song.

Radiohead opened with the stunner, "Lucky," a dark, melodic tune that had

everyone in the crowd silent and at full attention. The band played every

song but one from their new album, O.K. Computer, and more than half of

their previous release, The Bends.

If the new album doesn't get you, Radiohead's live

performance will. It was clear that a good few people in the audience were

only familiar with the band's current single, "Paranoid Android," but

one look at singer Thom Yorke's spastic, convulsive stage presence

probably made them fans for life.

Yorke jerked around almost uncontrollably

as he howled out the lyrics to the songs in his honey-glazed operatic

vocals as the other band members followed his lead, never missing a beat.

Well, OK...the band did re-start the song "Electioneering" a few notes

into it on Yorke's order because something didn't sound right. But

watching the band stop, regroup in a half-a-second and start right back

into this rather complicated song made it clear how tight these guys are

and how in tune they are with each other.

Radiohead has suddenly become the "band's band," and this show was

no different. ATN newsguy Gil Kaufman swore to me that he spotted

Metallica's Kirk Hammett in the crowd, and I bumped into both the drummer and bass player

from the Dutch band, Bettie Serveert, who had played a gig in San Francisco the night

before. Not surprising, because judging from their stellar musicianship

and razor-sharp performances, Radiohead is quickly becoming THE band to

emulate. Was that a pad and pen in Kirk's jacket pocket?

In pure Radiohead style, the band topped off their two-hour-plus

performance with not one, not two, but three encores, and the ear-piercing

squeals from the audience made it clear that they could've handled a few

more. Yorke walked on stage solo and did "Thinking About You," an acoustic

number that would be the only song performed from their debut album, Pablo Honey. No "Creep," much to the (surprise!) relief of the audience members. With two newer albums loaded with better material, it seems people are

finally getting over the band's 1993 MTV hit single.