Monday, March 12, 2007

Classic Bootleg Series Vol. 3: Radiohead - Glastonbury '97

Ten years ago this summer, on June 28, 1997, Radiohead headlined the annual Glastonbury Festival in southwest England. Rain had drenched the grounds for days, leaving the festival-goers in one huge, miserable mud pit, and prompting many of them to head home early. But when Radiohead hit the stage that Saturday night, armed largely with songs from their last two records (The Bends and OK Computer, which had been out for only 2 weeks), they were a band on a mission.

In a critics' poll a few years ago, the British magazine Q named the ensuing show the greatest gig ever. Not the greatest Glastonbury set of all time, or even the greatest Radiohead show. The BEST GIG EVER PLAYED BY ANYONE, EVER. (As another Q article later put it, "Knee-deep in mud, Glastonbury 1997 should have been a disaster. Instead Radiohead played the show of their lives.") Of course, such lists, constantly generated by the British music press, can be pretty silly, and it's impossible to say that a particular show by a particular band was the best one ever played (or even to tag one Radiohead show as their best ever, when they tend to be nothing less than spectacular night after night). But one listen to this performance will have you struggling to think of a better one. This is what a band sounds like when it is absolutely on fire, when every little thing is working just like they planned it -- the band is tight and ferocious, Thom Yorke is in gorgeous voice throughout, and the set is perfectly paced and packed with songs from two records that would go on to be considered absolute classics. And yes, they play "Creep," too.

Circulating commercial bootlegs of this show (which would provide artwork with a track list) are single-disk editions that include only the edited version of the show that was broadcast later by BBC radio. But I'm giving you the entire show, from the BBC source tapes. Trust me, having the entire set is way better than having some bootlegger's cheesy covers for your CD case.


Front cover - from an edited version of the show
Alternate front cover - from an edited version of the show
Back cover - none available for this complete version of the show

Disc 1:
01 Lucky
02 My Iron Lung
03 Airbag
04 Planet Telex
05 Exit Music (For A Film)
06 The Bends
07 Nice Dream
08 Paranoid Android
09 Karma Police
10 Creep
11 Climbing Up The Walls
12 No Surprises

Disc 2:
01 Talk Show Host
02 Bones
03 Just
04 Fake Plastic Trees
05 You
06 The Tourist
07 High and Dry
08 Street Spirit (Fade Out)