In September 2014, Thom Yorke released his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Last December, he reissued the LP and accompanied it with a series of shows. For this iteration, Yorke is touring the album with help from producer Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri and has a set list that also takes from 2006’s The Eraser and Atom for Peace’s Amok. On December 19, Yorke made his stop in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theatre for his first of two nights.
Like a wave, the crowd rose to their feet the minute Yorke and crew entered. Yorke began at the keys and the others at mounted structures of keyboards and such for electronica. The stage remained dark, but very slowly became illuminated. Five screen panels stood behind. The middle panel projected what looked like a split in the earth, but glowing. The crack expanded as the color changed until it was no longer a crack, but varying images. Throughout the show, it was as if abstract paintings came to life on the screens.
The performance began with Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ “Interference” and “A Brain in a Bottle.” While making his way from the keys to center, Yorke bowed, hands prayered, to much cheering. The show had only begun and he was already receiving a standing ovation. He bounced back and forth between the albums, soon playing “Black Swan” and “Harrowdown Hill” and then “Pink Section” and “Nose Grows Some.” Still, the performance was nothing but smooth. Each song flowed seamlessly into the next, whether through audio or visual transition. The projections danced along as Yorke did, who, if not playing an instrument, was often slithering around the stage, grooving his hips. From behind, each moment was intensified by the likes of oozing psychedelic wooshes and structured Y2K stock art. Yorke wasn’t much for talking, which was appropriate for his performance that called for absolute immersion.
Just halfway through the set, Yorke performed Atom for Peace’s “Amok.” What was more exciting, however, came during the first encore that featured The Axe,” “Atoms for Peace” and “Default.” He was joined by supergroup bandmates Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.). Such a surprise was hardly acknowledged, aside from a thank you by Yorke at the end. Nevertheless, excitement about the reunion could be seen among the trio in how they bounced off each other’s energy.
One encore was not enough and after another exit, Yorke returned to pay respects to arguably his most major work this year: scoring Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria. The performance of “Unmade” was the night’s most simple moment. Before beginning, Yorke halfway joked that if anyone in the audience was part of the Academy, to vote for him. He performed alone at the keyboard, his band standing side stage. Across the panels, what looked like iridescent bacteria expanded and culminated in shades of pink and indigo. It lifted a moment that was otherwise fairly raw. Yorke pinged away, singing, “Come under my wings… we’re unmade.”
- A Brain in a Bottle
- Impossible Knots
- Black Swan
- Harrowdown Hill
- Pink Section
- Nose Grows Some
- Cymbal Rush
- The Clock
- Two Feet Off the Ground
- Not the News
- Truth Ray
Encore 1 (with Flea and Joey Waronker)
- The Axe
- Atoms for Peace
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News