A Thom Yorke solo set is an all too rare occurrence, so when he played at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit in 2002, Radiohead fans all over the world took notice. I vividly remember my excitement when a stealth audience recording of the two sets popped up on the internet a few days later, putting it on repeat in Winamp, and burning copies for all the Radiohead fanatics in my sophomore college dorm. In the decade since then, I’ve given this show countless spins — easily more than any other live non-Phish recording I’ve owned — so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across the full-show video yesterday!
This was the summer before “Hail to the Thief” came out, so it was my first time getting to hear future favorites “There There” and “Sail to the Moon”, which had both been debuted on a European tour that summer. Radiohead is known for their dense sound and studio production, so hearing the band’s songs performed in such sparse acoustic arrangements was a revelation for me. Personal highlights are the back to back pairing of rarity “True Love Waits” with “Paranoid Android”, and Thom’s final song of the first night, when he paid tribute to Neil by playing “After the Goldrush”.
While some of the video quality isn’t that great, simply getting a glimpse of Thom playing Neil’s piano sent shivers up my spine. Finally pairing images with renditions of songs that have been listened to over and over again (and the same recording I downloaded all those years ago taboot) really is a strange experience, but one I am grateful for, so a belated thanks to the rabid Radiohead fanbase for putting this compilation together and uploading it last July!