Type: Audience master, recorded centre stage, approximately 15 metres back from the ceiling-mounted PA system.
Source: Factory-matched pair of Schoeps CCM 41V microphones (DINa mounted) -> Marantz PMD661 recorder with Oade Concert Mod (-18 dB gain/44.1 kHz/24 bit WAV)
01. [07:29] Bloom
02. [04:33] Lucky
03. [04:27] 15 Step
04. [04:32] Kid A
05. [03:39] Myxomatosis
06. [03:47] The Gloaming
07. [06:16] Separator
08. [05:51] Reckoner
09. [03:17] You And Whose Army?
10. [04:40] Nude
11. [05:33] Full Stop
12. [04:50] Lotus Flower
13. [05:56] There There
14. [04:37] Karma Police
15. [03:35] Feral
16. [06:18] Paranoid Android
17. [02:33] [encore break]
18. [05:17] Give Up The Ghost
19. [05:54] Supercollider
20. [04:58] Morning Mr. Magpie
21. [04:02] A Wolf At The Door
22. [04:18] Bodysnatchers
23. [02:20] [encore break]
24. [06:21] How To Disappear Completely
25. [06:33] Everything In Its Right Place
26. [06:15] Idioteque
I do dislike the Ziggo Dome.
I dislike the crass commercialism inherent in its name. What’s next? Are we to
become like America, where the venues change name every couple of years as the
sponsorship contract comes up for renewal and one vile corporation outbids
another? Goodbye Chunky Chicken Nuggets Centre, hello Fat Fuck Doughnut Arena.
I dislike that they named a rectangular buiding a dome.
I dislike having to queue up to exchange cash for plastic tokens in order to
buy food or even a drink.
I dislike the pricing of said food and drink, which is not only expensive and
misleading (because the price expressed as tokens is less than the actual
price in euros), but also guaranteed to leave you with half a token at the end
of the night, which you then bring home with you and never see again, making
the actual cost even more expensive.
I dislike the poor sods whose job it is to plough a path through the audience
whilst carrying a barrel of beer on their back, because they barge into me
when they turn. Let the people who can’t live without beer go to the bar,
where they’ll hopefully remain.
I dislike the toilets with no lid, although these are not unique to the Ziggo
Dome. Don’t they know how easy it is to drop recording equipment into the
I dislike the expensive car parks. Special event rate of 12 euro? Kiss my
arse. Just a week ago, I parked for 7½ hours in the centre of Cologne under
the Philharmonie. Total cost? 3 euro. That’s a proper event tariff. Greedy
I dislike the painfully slow car parks. The gig is over. I just want to leave,
for fuck’s sake.
I dislike queueing in the rain to go inside the venue. Why is it always
Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, “L’enfer, c’est les autres”. He’d probably just
been to a gig when he penned those immortal words, because that’s the trouble
with gigs. They’re full of “les autres”; and the Ziggo Dome has more of them
than anywhere else in this overfull city.
I’m tired of listening to the tedious conversations of other people.
I’m tired of treading on their discarded beer glasses.
I’m tired of their complete disregard for my comfort, because they just want
to smoke at a Radiohead gig, man. It’s all about me, me, me, you know?
I’m not content with it being more important that they go home with a shitty,
shaky, three minute video clip of some flashing lights, morphing colours and a
few pixelated ants, than it is for me to have a view unobstructed by their
Radiohead are too large now. I mean, they deserve it, of course. They’ve
worked hard for it and all that, so good for them, but bad for me.
15,000+ punters are here for this sold-out gig and many of them are, I
suspect, people who attend approximately one gig a year. Neither their
upbringing nor their experience of concert environments seem to have given
them any grounding in how to behave courteously towards others.
Would these people walk into a pub, strap on an electric guitar and start
playing loud music, so that the other customers couldn’t hold a conversation?
No? Then why the fuck do they come to a music venue and then chatter to each
other while there is music being performed?
We’d all be a lot happier if they’d stayed at home on the couch, with a
chocolate biscuit and a nice hot cup of shut-the-fuck-up.
Oh, and I should mention that each of these irritations is massively magnified
when I’m sick and suffering from a headache. Such is the case tonight. I still
haven’t recovered from Prague and I’m absolutely relishing the prospect of
spending the next four and a half hours glued to the same spot.
When I come to print out my tickets for this gig, I discover that I’ve
purchased two of them, probably thinking that my wife might also like to
attend. Too late now; I’ll have to sell the ticket at the gig, which has been
sold out since the day tickets went on sale, seven months ago. How hard can it
Shifting a spare ticket tonight proves easier said than done. It’s hard to
tell who, if anyone, needs one. It’s also raining, people are approaching from
several directions at once and the queue snakes around all over the place,
making it hard to spot people who might be vying for a ticket.
It’s hard to know where best to stand, so I stand everywhere and nowhere and
manage to sell nothing.
The clock is ticking and I need to start approaching random punters or I could
be out here all night. I spot a middle-aged guy leaning against a wall near
the ticket-office and ask him if he needs a ticket. He does! Sold!
I finally get to go inside, out of the rain. The queues have significantly
died down. I pick a door and chat to the purchaser of my ticket to pass the
time as the queue is whittled down to where we are.
As we get to the doors, I notice that the security staff checking people
coming from my queue are being a little too thorough, so I veer left at the
last moment and am waved through by the more relaxed guy manning that door.
A quick check of the hall reveals it’s not too busy in there yet, so I queue
for some bloody Ziggo currency and then head into the lavatories to suit up.
Taperman emerges and, one overpriced hamburger and overpriced juice later,
heads into the hall to take up position between the stacks. It’s a lot busier
now, but I still manage to secure a good central location at a decent distance
from the stage.
There turn out to be a couple of large pockets of fans sitting on the floor,
closer to the stage, so as each of those groups gets up and the crowd moves
forwards to fill the space, I go with the flow and see my own position
promoted to ‘ideal’. I now form an equilateral triangle with the left and
right PA stacks and really couldn’t wish for a better spot.
Caribou come on at 19:30 and play for a measly half hour. All around me are
people who would rather discuss the minutiae of their insignificant lives than
listen to the music. How grateful I am for the selective hearing of
supercardioid microphones. I wonder how I ever coped without them and I wish I
could operate my ears in the same mode.
Radiohead are punctual, arriving on stage at the scheduled start time of
20:30. For the next two hours and a bit, they hold the audience captive and
make it look easy. I’m less captive than most, though, I must confess. I have
put in plenty of effort over the years to become a big fan of Radiohead, but
the blue touch paper just won’t seem to ignite.
Many people who know a thing or two about music will wax lyrical about the
importance, influence, originality and brilliance of the band. I’m not about
to refute any of that testimony, but I do sometimes struggle to simply enjoy
the music for what it is. I’m one of those people who really liked ‘Creep’ and
think that ‘Karma Police’ is sublime. The rest I can take or leave.
On the other hand, I do have the utmost respect for the band and the way they
conduct their affairs. In that sense, I am a fan, because I support what they
I’m afraid Radiohead are destined to remain like fine wine to me. Whilst some
people’s lives are hugely enriched by the pursuit of drinking wine, to the
extent that they will travel to sample it and even devote a room in their
house to its storage, it all tastes like fermented grapes to me; and so, too,
do Radiohead, I’m afraid.
On the other hand, I am blown away by the band’s light show this evening,
consisting of multiple screens, suspended on wires from a truss above the
stage. The screens do not form a contiguous whole. Rather, they can be
individually raised and lowered, moved left and right and tilted from vertical
Each tile displays a moving image depicting a small section of the live action
on stage, but not necessarily a close-up of a face or a set of fingers. On the
flat floor of the Ziggo Dome, with fifteen metres of the world’s tallest
music fans between me and the stage, the view of the people performing on it
is lousy, so I spend a lot of time watching these moving screens instead.
All of Radiohead’s albums from ‘OK Computer’ onwards are represented here
tonight, although the emphasis is obviously on the latest, ‘The King Of Limbs’
(which now seems so long ago).
The sound in the Ziggo Dome is — I must finally give the place its due –
superb. The lows, mids and highs all ring through with clarity, the buzzing
low bass of ‘Feral’ in particular resonating with my eardrums and making them
jiggle. This place is big and it takes a lot of sound to fill it, but
Radiohead are playing nice and loud, so there’s none of that thin arena
ambience that troubles a lot of shows in venues like this.
Superb sound, a band firing on all cylinders, a good recording position and
high quality recording equipment are the essential factors for a first rate
audience capture, to which category I feel this recording may justly be
Don’t let my complaints about the venue and my fellow man, or my indifference
to the band fool you. The quality of this recording is outstanding and
probably the best of the three concerts I have thus far recorded in the
cavernous Ziggo Dome. It compares favourably, for example, with the recording
of Lady Gaga that I made in September.
As ever, samples are provided to help you decide whether this is worth the
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