Amsterdam, Heineken Music Hall, 21 May 2016

I’m front and centre for this gig. I got here with a little help from my friends and that’s all I’m prepared to say on the matter at the moment.

The air-raid siren modern classical is like Guantanamo torture and I know I’m going to have to stand here for a long time but it’s worth it. This is where I live.

I meditate on this for a while after Holly Herndon has left the stage. Take deep breaths, try to stay in the moment.

They play the same songs from A Moon Shaped Pool to start, and they’re starting to fall into place. Daydreaming fits now.

Then Lucky and there it is, that feeling. THIS THIS THIS.

There There, Lotus Flower, All I Need, then Talk Show Host oh YES here we are and I’m pounding the barrier. I can move and I can feel and I have the funk.

Identikit, The Numbers, The Present Tense, Separator (which kills me, hits harder than it ever has) and then Nude. Thom’s really in good voice, hitting the long notes square in the middle. The final swoop and I pull a salute. It’s a minimal movement, but I know he knows.

The National Anthem, Everything In Its Right Place and I’m gone. They break it down and go off stage one by one.

They come back for Give Up The Ghost and How To Disappear (I’m weeping now) Karma Police and everyone loses it. Bloom, Street Spirit (I’ve gone again).

The final run is Idioteque and there is no let up, slammed and finished. Crawl out, snap a picture of the set list in someone’s hands, and drag myself past some Dutch blokes who comment on the state of me.

Out in the foyer I run into Nienke (a Dutch boardie) and find myself in a hug, realise I’m sobbing loudly, overwhelmed.

A woman, who says she’s from a radio station in Berlin, asks me why I’m crying. This band, is all I can say, this band. Everything all of the time.

At the back door, I go to meet Sab who has bought an extra set of the lyric postcards for me. They’re waiting to see the band off… Colin stops and signs some autographs (he’s still drawing the smiley face with his name) the others leave in the back of blacked out Mercs. Thom’s with Stanley.

I sit back, on a bike rack and observe.

In my pocket I have one drinks token left, to be spent inside the Heineken Music Hall, I ask if there are any Amsterdamers here and get talking to three Dutch kids who come to gigs here all the time. They have numbers inked on their hands and I explain that the control freakery means nothing once you get inside, that this system is nothing to do with either venue or band.

They tell me that two of them weren’t even born when I saw my first Radiohead gig and I laugh with them about their favourite album being In Rainbows, I think it’s great that the band are still making new fans.

Later, on the train back to town, I meet two girls who have come from Moscow for the gigs. There is another girl who comes from Belarus (who came here via Poland and a college trip to Berlin) who only managed to find a ticket this afternoon. Her eyes are bloodshot and she’s not slept. She has the breathless, stunned demeanour of someone who been hit hard by this band. They get it.


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