Thom Yorke Band at The Orpheum, Night 1

The Orpheum Theater, LA
October 4, 2009

Anne Hathaway, Tobey Maguire, Woody Harrelson, Edward Norton, Colin Greenwood. . . where were they and 2,000 other fortunate souls? The answer, ironically, is: ??????



The Thom Yorke Band, ??????, took the stage for night one of their two-night stint at The Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles.  The band came together approximately 3 weeks ago and is already blowing the minds of fans, friends, and yes, celebrities (seeing as these shows are the place to be) with their live performance.  Not many musicians can form a band and successfully hit the stage so quickly.  But we’re not talking about just any musicians – we’re talking about Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco.

Tonight the Thom Yorke band played a set nearly identical to their rehearsal show at The Echoplex on Friday. They began by playing The Eraser, start to finish, in sequence.  The crowd sat down during the first 4 songs which felt strange, considering the talent that was on the stage and the music they were playing.  It must have felt strange to Yorke too because as soon as they finished “Black Swan” and before they kicked in to “Skip Divided” Yorke requested the audience stand up.

Skip Divided

Skip Divided

“You know when I was getting ready to do these shows, I was saying to a friend of mine, ‘Y’know I really hope they dance to this music.’  This was all about making a dance record. So if you do want to sit there like it’s a cinema, that’s ok. . .  But if you do wanna get up, well. . .” Yorke announced as the crowd (finally) stood up and cheered.

I’m happy he said something.  Otherwise, I was going to be that a$$hole who stands and blocks everyone’s view because I don’t know how to sit still for “Skip Divided,” “Atoms For Peace,” “And It Rained All Night,” “Harrowdown Hill” and “Cymbal Rush” (certainly can’t sit  during “Cymbal Rush”).  It was hard enough to sit during the first 4 songs (albeit easier to see).

Indeed, the show at The Orpheum had a different feel than Friday night’s intimate gathering at The Echoplex.  For one thing, The Orpheum is a seated venue which divides the audience, interferes with one’s ability to dance, and requires an immense number of security staff to ensure people stay in their seat and don’t step outside the black tape and into the aisles.  In this economy, it’s good to see there are jobs for such a large security team.  At the same time, it definitely impacts the vibe of the show and restricts the crowd’s ability to express their excitement wholeheartedly.



Regardless, the show was spectacular.  The percussion team of Waronker and Refosco put drum machines to shame as they somehow replicated and enhanced the beats heard on the recorded versions of the songs.  Yorke danced around on stage some, but seemed quite a bit more reserved than he did at The Echoplex, where he danced like this (and then some) during every song. Perhaps he restrained himself, realizing the crowd wouldn’t be able to join him as they previously could due to the restrictive nature of the venue layout (and security crew).

But I know Yorke wanted to dance more.  And he wanted us to dance more.  So if you’re lucky enough to be attending the show Monday night, at least pretend you know how lucky you are to be there. There may be a lot of guys and gals in bright yellow jackets. . . but there are more of us!

Videos from the show (watch in HD for a better viewing experience):

Here are some photos I captured:





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Response to Thom Yorke Band at The Orpheum, Night 1

  1. Thanks a lot! Awesome pics! If your footage is as good as the pics then: Wooohoooo!!

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  3. at the very beginning of the set when the band entered the stage, most of the crowd stood up and applauded them. thom then quickly waved at everyone to sit down; which they did. it was only when he said it was okay to stand that people did stand. i took it to mean that the crowd was being very polite and considerate of what thom wanted. and if i remember right, thom has stopped shows entirely before due to unruly crowds. so… yeah i didnt view it as negatively as you did. i also sat in the balcony. people were still pretty hyped to be there.

    • I was third row, center – a different perspective from there (that’s all). If you watch the videos from the Echoplex show (see previous blog post) or if you were at that show, you’ll know what I mean. Or read Pitchfork’s review of last night’s show (I think they’re the ones who also commented on the more “tame” nature of the Orpheum show). But as I said originally, the show was spectacular (and there could have been more dancing).

  4. Pingback: Thom Yorke Band at The Orpheum, Night 2 « Rock Is A Girl's Best Friend

  5. Wow amazing video.. didn’t think this high of quality of stuff would be available on these special shows with this amazing band.. THANK YOU!! I just pray for a tour.. please please please…

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