Amsterdam, Heineken Music Hall, 20 May 2016

About 2:30 I give into my anxiety and take the tram and the Metro to the arena. The Wibble factor is kicking in and I get a bit of déjà vu as i see the Heineken music hall. Keiko and Yasuko are here and have been since 5 AM. Spend the afternoon waiting and bubbling with slight panic. I can’t barge in with them at the front, I finally give in and queue up about 5:30 with lots of tall Dutch people. At 6 o’clock the head bouncer comes out and explains that we will have to have our tickets and ID examined to get in, like checking in to a flight.

Once inside we have to wait again to have tickets scanned, bags searched, bodies patted down, that sort of thing. Inside the arena, bigger than I remember, I stroll to Jonny’s side at the far corner near speakers, in the second row behind a couple of Japanese girls and a girl who has come from the USA, a Dutch girl with blue hair and a chatty German lass who have all seen band more than once before. The floor is really sticky from all the beer that’s been spilled, but I have a decent view of the high stage and a bit of room for throwing shapes.

The venue here has tokens for drinks, and bag lockers quite sensible really (but pricy) and I eventually figure out how it works, it’s quite a relief to be unencumbered and get a decent view. The Dutch crowd don’t seem to push, and it’s ok even though some of them are 7 feet tall.

Eventually Holly Herndon comes on – sound wise it’s pretty hectic and the guy with the long blond hair and the legend “Gender is Over” on his vest is a pretty energetic interpretive dancer. The other guy is typing messages to us on the screen in between doing the visuals. It’s a bit like what we imagined Kieron was doing during all those Four Tet sets …

A bit more waiting then I spot Roadies on stage and it starts to kick in… Here we go.

Familiar silhouettes and lots of gear and we’re off. Big drums it’s Burn the Witch it’s a bit rough at first and looser than on the record Jonny has a violin bow for his guitar, my ears fill in the gaps. It sounds more Hail to the Thief-y than on record. Waves of feeling like you’re in the right place. A music stand for Thom, Jonny on piano, Daydreaming which hasn’t really clicked with me yet , bit disturbed by the backwards bit, but it unravels nicely here and so do I – feeling everything at once – smudging my mascara…

Decks Dark and Desert Island Disk follow and I assume they’re just going to play the record all the way through which is okay but then they break out a funky mood and play Mr Magpie and the pace alters just as it had threatened to become emotionally cloudy.

There There, Daily Mail and then the whine of Ed’s guitar …oh fuck. They’re going to play My Iron Lung …there is a bloodcurdling shriek. Oh that was me! I feel like it’s 1994 again and I jump and stretch out my hands. God love them for playing this.

Back to the piano for Videotape because we don’t want to tire ourselves out yet and then the new stuff again. Glass Eye which isn’t my favourite and then Identikit which blows me away, drums go all motorik. I like it a lot – lot looser than on record, more whack!

The Numbers hasn’t quite got processed in my head yet, is it an apathetic protest song? I’m not sure, so why have I been humming it all day?

The Gloaming, Lotus Flower, Everything in its Right Place without my favourite bit -the breakdown which I was ready for, handclaps a go go at the end but it fizzles out, shame because I love that bit, but then Idioteque comes loudly out of nowhere. It packs a wallop and goes Strobe Rave Nasty at the end.

Throughout Thom’s voice has been clear and sharp like he’s showing off the freshness of it, hitting notes when he doesn’t even need to, little fill -ins that you don’t normally hear. This is why we keep coming.

Bodysnatchers and then The Present Tense with Ed on the shaker getting the Latino Vibes in.

Paranoid Android Jonny’s bit at the end My fave. Thom expecting people to sing along and they don’t quite. Tinker Tailor which I blinked and missed as I’m starting to get back ache.

Arpeggi, Thom teasing Jonny about how is he going to get to do his jazz bit at the end. Thom: “We should start writing some simple songs – too late now.”

They go off again, the Dutch crowd are fairly chilled but loud and eager, can I smell E-joints? You and Whose Army with nose-cam projected onto tiny LED screens, Thom’s hamming it up.

Phil reminds him to thank Holly then he says he could say a lot more but the song does it all for him and they play Reckoner.. Plenty of tambourines in the mixture and it’s still the best track off In Rainbows. No True Love Waits, think they are keeping their powder dry for tonight…