Optimus Alive Day 3 – By The Numbers (Radiohead review is all that matters, right?)

The third and final day at the lovely Optimus Alive festival in Oeiras, Lisbon, Portugal. Justice owned Day 1, Mumford & Sons were tops on Day 2 – who will be the best today? Radiohead you say? Read on to find out, in our review of Optimus Alive Day 3 – by the numbers.

Number of clouds in the sky: 0, once again. Love it!

Decades I felt like I jumped back listening to Eli “Paperboy” Reed: About 4, maybe 5. Featuring a throwback bluesy, Motown sound, with fantastically loud and crowd-captivating vocals, the band quickly won over the crowd with their songs. Not totally original, but no one is really playing this style these days. A pleasant surprise from the first band of the day. Make sure you check them out!

Number of ridiculous pieces of advice on the screen next to the stages: 1. “To avoid queues, use the toilet when bands are playing.” Yeah, I’ll get right on that – maybe right in the middle of Radiohead’s set. ” I’M HERE TO AVOID THE QUEUES – IT WORKED!”

Who re-arranges our mind?: Okay, not a number but it’s Miles Kane, whose opening song was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. Other highlights from the former Rascal and part-time collaborator with Alex Turner (Last Shadow Puppets) included My Fantasy, Inhaler, and Quicksand.

Number of signs from fans asking for Miles’ guitar picks: 2. No signs asking for those pants though? And to think I almost wore the same pair!

Number of songs I wanted to hear from Inside In Inside Out by the Kooks: All of them! Love that album! I got 5 though (Seaside, See the World, She Moves in Her Own Way, Sofa Song, Ooh La La). A big crowd showed up for the Kooks on the main stage and they seemed pleased (as was I) with songs from all 3 albums. The English band were the perfect sunny pop band as the Lisboa sun descended behind the main stage.

Number of Canadian acts on the bill: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was just Danko Jones and Caribou (I haven’t thoroughly examined the DJ acts).

I caught Caribou before Radiohead’s headlining set. The crowd were receptive and sort of danced along (6 out of 10 on the dance scale, depending where you were), but seemed to recognize few tunes. That didn’t make the set any less enjoyable. A solid set from the Canucks formerly known as Manitoba, which got stronger as the set went on. Looking forward to seeing them open for Radiohead again (in the UK).

Inches apart Caribou played from another band member: Probably less than 30. A close knit circle of sorts between all of the members.

Number of Radiohead t-shirts I saw: Dozens. Ranging from the In Rainbows era to the Kid A era, I actually didn’t see any OK Computer or the Bends t-shirts.

Number of pony tails in the band: 1. Thom – cut that shit already! You look like a roadie, not the singer of the best rock band on the planet. Ed O’Brien sported a classy top hat, Jonny has had the same haircut for the past 15 years, and Colin is looking a little like former footballer Roy Keane with that scruff.

Number of percussionists on opening song, Bloom: 3. Phil Selway was joined by Clive Deamer on a second drum kit, while Jonny Greenwood helped out for this song.

Number of percussionists on There There: 4! Phil, Clive, Ed, and Jonny.

Number of decibels the crowd made once Exit Music (for a Film) started: Pretty close to 0. It was amazing how much the crowd wanted to hear the dynamics, allowing Thom to single the gentle first verse, before the epic ending.

Okay, no more numbers. Let’s talk Radiohead.

Opener Bloom didn’t come off as spectacular live as I had hope, despite the percussion bonuses. It was slower and never got its legs. By contrast, the 3rd song, Morning Mr Magpie, was amazing with 2 drummers. The start of the set wasn’t for the casual fan, with no real singles or recognizable songs until the 8th song – Pyramid Song. The set wasn’t bad by any means, but the band catered to their latest album, playing 6 of the 8 songs from The King of Limbs. The loudest cheer of the night for any song went to Paranoid Android.

Thom did his usual spastic dance routine during The Gloaming, Idioteque, and Lotus Flower. Better than him moping, right?

The band played an encore and all left the stage after Everything in It’s Right Place, before playing Idioteque and leaving again, so I’m saying 3 encores (although the excellent fan site At Ease says 2).

It wasn’t the best set I’ve seen Radiohead play in the 10+ times I’ve seen them. People in front of me said it was garbage and left, while the people behind me said it was the best show they have ever seen. I’m more in the middle, but closer to the positive end of things. It was a bit subdued, possibly due to the recent tragedy in Toronto, with Thom barely talking to the crowd. The 2 drummers added a new dynamic, and the set got stronger as it went, ending with the amazing Street Spirit. I was disappointed in some of the King of Limbs live songs (Bloom, Feral), while others we’re stronger (Morning Mr Magpie).

I think the video screens and stage set up differed from the start of their tour, possibly due to the accident. I loved the In Rainbows stage and light show, so I was a little underwhelmed by this one (but obviously won’t hold it against them due to the circumstances).

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PHM Rating: 8.5/10

Set list for Radiohead at Optimus Alive, Sunday July 15, 2012 – Lisbon, Portugal:

2-15 Step
3-Morning Mr Magpie
5-Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
6-The Gloaming
8-Pyramid Song
9-I Might Be Wrong
10-Climbing Up the Walls
12-Exit Music (For a Film)
13-Lotus Flower
14-There There

Encore 1
17-Give Up the Ghost
20-Paranoid Android
21-Intro of R.E.M. Song, The One I Love, then Everything in Its Right Place

Encore 2

Encore 3
23-Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Thank you Lisboa for hosting a memorable 3 days of music!

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5 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Maybe there were no Bends or OK Computer t-shirts because it was a pretty young crowd. I felt ancient at 46 – with my 14-year old son for protection. I would disagree that the start of the set was not for the casual fan. I know up to In Rainbows backwards but not King of Limbs – and I was transfixed from the beginning, partly by the reaction from everyone around me. Great night

  2. pete says:

    Good point about the young(ish) crowd. I enjoyed the start of the set, but the casual fans I was with knew nothing. Although the Gloaming is a live favourite, I wouldn’t consider it a standout track from Hail to the thief. That being said, it was generally excellent start to finish. That can’t play EVERY song I want them to!

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