Thanks to San Francisco’s curious weather patterns, Outside Lands might be the only August music festival in America where fans need to bundle up for the cold. It was definitely nippy during Radiohead’s headlining set on the second night of the three-day festival, but the grey skies and chilly temperatures actually aided in the mise-en-scène of the band’s remarkable two hour performance.
Opening with a trio of tracks from their new album A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead eased into their performance and set the mood through OK Computer deep cuts like “Climbing Up the Walls” and “Exit Music (For a Film).” But when Thom Yorke took a seat at the piano about an hour into their set for “Pyramid Song,” the band found another level. With Yorke’s ghostly falsetto drifting through the crowd like fog, the performance was utterly stunning, the type of breathtaking, had-to-be-there moment those in attendance will never forget.
The second half of their set was much more uptempo, with highlights including “Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi” and “Idioteque.” After a brief break, the band returned for their five-song encore, ending with remarkable renditions of “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police,” one of the few songs the crowd was able to sing-along to.
Though a second encore was thwarted due to time constraints, it was hard to ask for more from the band. Now over 30 years into their career, Radiohead is rightly considered one of the most important groups of all time and their rousing, affecting set at Outside Lands laid any questions about their vitality to rest.
Check out photos of Radiohead’s set by AXS.com photographer Amy Harris above.