A whinge about Radiohead and the “Best of British” gigs

#nowplaying Something In The Way- Nirvana Unplugged in New York

I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s safe to say, that my girlfriend Jo is a massive Radiohead fan. This, as you will know if you’ve been here since last March, isn’t something that separates us particularly as I’m also quite a fan of the Oxford group. Towards the end of last year as the band announced dates here, there and everywhere but England, our excitement grew- even after hearing The King Of Limbs; surely the band were about to announce a UK tour?

And so it came to pass this week, that they did. Now, for me, having already spent money to see Pulp at the Royal Albert Hall later this month, bought tickets for Tricky’s not to be missed reunion with Martina Topley-Bird and performance of Maxinquaye in Bristol next month, I couldn’t really commit to spending money on Radiohead. But that was fine as Jo was happy to cover it. She said. Although her proviso that she wasn’t going to spend more than £40 each on tickets seemed optimistic bearing in mind the ticket prices for their In Rainbows tour.


The tickets (for the O2 in Greenwich) went on sale this on Monday morning and I got an email from Jo that was about as blunt as she ever gets: £65. No way.

Now, I can completely understand that as a band who have been around close to 20 years and have scaled the heights they have, they have a right to charge pretty much whatever they want to. But, for me, that is a frankly ridiculous amount of money to charge anyone for a gig. As I said to a mate, it’s U2 levels of greediness and, I think, all the more galling coming from a band that recently allowed their fans to download In Rainbows for whatever they wanted to pay for it. For what it’s worth, whilst Jo paid about £1.50 for that download, we both then bought the album when it was released on cd in early 2008.

I understand that Radiohead have a tour to pay for, but nobody’s telling me that they’re not going to be making megamoney out of 23,000 punters paying £65 a go, two nights in a row, £2,990,000 total. Jo also texted me yesterday to say that cheaper seats had been released at £52, “because they’re crap seats”. And then there are the £13 booking fees- whaaaat?

Just because they could, didn’t mean they should… or something like that.

You may be reading this and thinking, yeah, you won’t pay to see Radiohead, but you’re happy to pay money to go and see a band that haven’t released an album in 11 years. And you saw them last year.

It’s true, we did go and see Pulp last year, but we wouldn’t be going this year if we’d had to pay more than £40 to do so. And it’s for a good cause- the Teenage Cancer Trust. I also think I’d be almost happy to spend whatever it took to spend an evening watching Jarvis throwing (mis) shapes on stage. He’s just that kind of guy. On the other hand, the idea of revisiting Blur in Hyde Park- much as I love them- particularly with The Specials and the decrepit New Order in tow just sounds like, well, it sounds like whatever sound a dead horse being flogged will make.

I don’t quite understand, apart from Damon’s ego, why Blur are doing this “Best of British” gig. Even though they say they won’t be playing the same set as 2009, there’s no way they can top those gigs. Well, I suppose it could happen, but I think there was an emotional charge, a real primal feel to them, that surely can’t be matched in the summer. Although, for everyone going, I hope it is. What does it say about today’s music scene that these three bands, with one album between them in the last ten years, are apparently the best we have to offer the world?

I suppose it could be worse, we could have Oasis up there.

To finish this all of with a word or two about how much I’m looking forward to Tricky’s Maxinquaye performance next month probably seems a little hypocritical. Particularly as these “see X perform their debut/landmark/seminal album” have the ring of desperation to them. But I know Tricky can still put on a ferocious live show. I can’t wait to see him on stage with MT-B for the first time since a gig in Leeds in 1997 and I fucking love Maxinquaye, so I know that if I didn’t go, I would really, really, regret it.

Especially when the tickets were only £28.50 a pop.



This entry was posted in Blur, Pulp, Radiohead, Tricky and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A whinge about Radiohead and the “Best of British” gigs

  1. Very similar to my thoughts, infact almost identical 🙂


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