Radiohead In The Rain

What most people saw at the Radiohead concert at Nissan PavilionLike many of you, I recently went to see Radiohead play at Nissan Pavilion in Virginia. And like many of you, I left determined never to return to, as it's now known, "The Unhappiest Place On Earth."

If you haven't heard, there was a bit of a torrential downpour that night. I know we can't blame Nissan Pavilion for the rain, but we can blame them for having no ability to manage traffic and for apparently designing their venue as though it existed in some magical land where rain water will simply disappear, as opposed to creating giant lakes between you and the men's room.

Many people drove around the venue for hours only to get turned away; others left during the first encore, thinking it would help them avoid traffic, then sat in traffic for hours trying to get home after the show only to learn they had missed the second encore where the band finally played "National Anthem" (that was our car). And many, many, many people got seriously wet. And cold.

NPR's All Songs Considered blog has a post about the show, asking readers what bands are worth the horrible conditions we encountered there. My friend Eduardo, who blogs over at Abstract Citizen, had this to say:

Let's say Miles Davis comes back from the dead. He assembles the "kind of blue" group (all of whom are back from the dead) plus his 1960s quintet. Coltrane ropes his 60s quartet into playing a show too. Miles calls me, asks me to write up a setlist. So does Coltrane. Then Pavement reunite, as do the Talking Heads. The four acts decide to split a bill. Each will play two sets. Hell, I get to write up all the setlists. They give away free single malt scotch, free beer, pie, and sushi at the door. And I will get to hang out backstage for as long as I want.

But then they tell me this will take place at Nissan.

I think I would stay home.

For those of you who were smart enough to stay home, here's a playlist of a few songs they played that night. Enjoy! [Editor's note: they didn't play the only song off the new album (well, off Disc 2) that really would have made this all worthwhile, so I added it to the end of the playlist for my own amusement.] I think Radiohead songs are only available in 30-second-preview mode when the playlist is embedded, so click the "launch standalone" link at the bottom-left of the playlist to hear the full versions.


Mr. Emily said...

That's pretty strange. The last time I saw them. It was 2002, I think. They were playing some park in VA. I got to check out the soundcheck earlier in the day (I was working in radio then) - and shortly after a monsoon came in. Flooding everything. Needless to say there was no show (sans the soundcheck) - The soundcheck was the best thing I never heard out of that group.

But yo, it's a shed! What did you expect?! A great show? Great sound?

My car was totaled the last time I was at the shed you spoke of. By some drunk ass girl who didn't want me to file it with my insurance company. She was barefoot and had a scent not too far off from Bud Lite and BO. Yum. Maybe it's just Virginia. But it's a state I avoid like the plague.

John Das Binky said...

I think Nissan Pavillion has had that rep for a while now. The only show I went to out there was managable, but I've heard nothing but horror stories.

The only thing I've heard from the Radiohead show was how horrible the commute was. Your entry here is the first one that even mentioned the music.

Maybe this will encourage them to actually build some infrastructure.

I do remember waiting three hours to get out of a show, but I think that was Lollapalooza 94 out in West Virginia. Yay.

Mr. Emily said...

John hit it on the nail.

It seems no one talks about Radiohead's music anymore. And it's now for a reason. It should be about what they do and not what/how they make. And that just bores me.

It's been years since Radiohead's output has challenged and spoke to me.

Newmanium Reveler said...

I really don't get why each ticket includes a $6 parking fee. That means the "parking fee" nets the ownership about 150k for every sold out show. And they have never put a single dollar into making the arrival or departure arrangements any better. Merriweather is just as bad to get to, but it's certainly easier to get out of...

John Das Binky said...

Would it fly better with you karmically if they called it an "Excess Profit Margin Fee"?

The one that used to get me riled up was the Ticketmaster "Convenience Charge". When I just started thinking of it as "Money I'm Paying for No Reason" instead of trying to justify it, it was easier to swallow.

The joys of pseudo-monopolies.