Plans are what happens if you’re lucky. I didn’t get to see Atoms for Peace in Santa Barbara. There was a small crisis involving a left turn accident and insufficient funds to rent a car. . But I did get to see them at the Hollywood Bowl. So I was lucky.
I went with a friend who is about to turn 71. Although she consistently calls Atoms for Peace Radiohead and tells me that she is going to get Thom to give her a hug one day, her enthusiasm for the music is genuine and amazing. She has a highly syncopated soul.
We spent some time near the backstage gate because we happened to park beside it. We talked to some fans and some guards and staff. Everyone was friendly and you somehow felt more connected to a family, which Radiohead fans definitely are. When we arrived someone was just taking delivery of a guitar that Thom had signed for charity. Pretty thing. And I sent Flea a wristband as a present on a whim with my eye fetish on it. Who knows if he got it, but it’s the thought that counts. Oh and I got a good snap of Mauro giving the high five to one of the fans, Ian, who wished him a happy birthday. Thom came out and hovered in conversation with a guy for a while, and you somehow knew he was there, he has an energy even from a distance that is palpable. As if someone had thrown something into a pond and the ripples were reaching out from him as the center.
Eventually we went inside. My friend listened to half the concert with her eyes on the boys, saying from time to time, “That bass player is the bomb diggity.” And , “Look at them moooooooove!” And she also said quite seriously “This is a turning point for popular music. They’re just changing the direction of the whole thing like when the blues turned to rock and roll.” Did I mention she’s a classical pianist? Did I mention she is seventy years old.
I can’t imagine having a better companion for the show. She listened to the other half of the show with her eyes closed and she was a sight to behold. “That song took me somewhere,” she said wistfully. Me too.
Thank you Thom and Flea for moving like that, words can’t describe it really. Thank you Mauro and Joey for playing with each other like you shared a single brain. And Nigel for holding down the fort. And James Holden for opening the show beautifully. Thank you Atoms for Peace for being the Bomb Diggity. Pat Troise