A collectors item
It was the worst kept secret of the winter, denied from all directions and then, oh what a surprise! Radiohead were to headline this August's V Festival.
Aside from a couple of Glastonbury performances, Yorke and co have stayed away from major mainstream festival shows, and so this was always going to be a fascinating gig, even if you were nothing more than a casual observer.
So as the night approached, this was fast becoming one of the most talked about gigs of the year, with the choice of setlist the major discussion point. Speculation grew, there was even an NME pole that claimed 'Just' was the song Radiohead fans most wanted to hear, personally I suspect deep down many were really hoping for something even older.
The reason for the unusually high level of interest in what a band would play during a headlining slot at a festival, is due to the fact that Radiohead have made it quite clear that certain parts of their career are no go zones. Those who go to see them expecting to hear 'Creep' are simply wasting their time. However given the nature of the gig, surely this time it would be different?
Thom Yorke was as happy and upbeat on stage as he's ever been. He is reported to have said this was an opportunity for the band to look into the past, and that they certainly did, in effect just going out on stage and enjoying what they'd achieved as a band. 'High and Dry' and 'Fake Plastic Trees' were missing from the show, but this was one of the most hit heavy performances this band has done for years.
They opened with 'Airbag', '2+2=5' and 'My Iron Lung'. Other classics to get an airing included 'The Bends', 'No Surprises', 'Paranoid Android', 'Pyramid Song', 'Lucky', 'Just', 'Idioteque', 'Street Spirit' and 'There There'.
Let us not forget that when this gig was announced, it was meant to be an opportunity for the band's new album to be showcased on a major stage. That record is still someway off, but three new tracks that featured on their recent European tour were included: 'Bodysnatchers', 'Nude' and 'All I Need' all received the V Festival approval.
As 11 PM approached, and the hits were rapidly being crossed off the list, many were wondering if this would be the moment for the band's discarded fan favourite to be dusted off for a rare outing. 'Karma Police' came and went, and as the set drew to a close, Thom Yorke uttered the words:
"This is a track we haven't played for a while". The resulting sing-along moment will live long in the memory as 'Creep' brought a triumphant show to it's close.
Sometimes watching Radiohead can be hard work, but on this occasion everything came together to create one of the defining moments of the summer. The atmosphere as they left the stage was electric, with even the torrential downpour failing to dampen spirits.
The band move on to play massive shows in Edinburgh and Dublin, let's just hope those who read about their V performances don't get their hopes up and are disappointed when their personal favourite classic is left off the list.