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Review: Radiohead play a wonderful show in Manchester

Following a triumphant turn at Glastonbury, they dazzle at their own headline show.

Originally scheduled across two dates at Manchester Arena, the consolidated show by recent Glastonbury Festival headliners Radiohead sees the Oxford legends take to the vast Old Trafford Cricket Ground on the edge of Manchester.

With the momentary threat of rain in the open-air venue, the foreboding grey clouds provide a moody backdrop to the band’s often-eerie sounds. In a set not too dissimilar from their Pyramid Stage marathon, fans are treated to 26 cuts from across the band’s history.

Celebrating twenty years since the release of the seminal OK Computer, they glide into opening number Let Down, one of many taken from the 1997 release. They sit alongside a celebratory turn for last year’s excellent A Moon Shaped Pool, including single Daydreaming kicking off one of two encores.

With early appearances by fan favourites Everything In Its Right Place, No Surprises and Pyramid Song, it’s as the light begins to fade that Radiohead truly come into their own. The sultry Nude and the experimental Lotus Flower show off Radiohead at their most vivid, whilst Fake Plastic Trees and There There remain timeless classics.

It’s the refrain of the evening’s closer Karma Police that resonates across the huge audience, Yorke’s repeated “for a minute there I lost myself” ringing around the cricket ground with notable poignancy. It’s at once gut-wrenching and liberating, a balance Radiohead have beautifully perfected over time.

Perhaps not as intimate as the Manchester Arena shows would have been, there’s something undeniably special about Radiohead in the open-air. Their music has, and continues to defy confinement, and tonight their sound soaks into the atmosphere, as beautifully tender and fiercely thrilling as it has for the past twenty years.

Radiohead headline TRNSMT Festival in Glasgow this weekend. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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