In January of this year, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. One of the regions shaken by the tremors, Le Marche, held a benefit concert this evening where Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood played a live set. Yorke and Greenwood played songs from a decade ago that aren’t often heard live anymore, “Faust Arp” and “A Wolf At The Door,” among them. Maybe it made some fans happy to hear songs that they grew up with, or to hear the songs that first made them like Radiohead.
The concert, held in the breezy bleachers of the open-air Macerata Sferisterio stadium, was a benefit for the people and the region. Yorke and Greenwood might have chosen to play those earlier songs as a gesture, to put the purpose of the benefit above their tendency to try out new material on stage.
Yorke, who has been involved in some debate about the ethicality of his band’s recent concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, was due for some positive coverage at some point. Earlier this year a group of artists, including Roger Waters and Thurston Moore, took it into their hands to compose a letter condemning the concert in the name of a cultural boycott against Israeli state. Yorke expressed contempt towards the letter and criticized their methods for being both public and anonymous. Radiohead went ahead with the concert of July 18th. Now, the buzz around Yorke might start to fade.
The pair delivered songs from Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Hail to the Thief, and from Yorke’s solo work. Yorke played “Cymbal Rush” from 2006’s, The Eraser, to everyone’s engaged surprise.
Johnny Greenwood of Oxford, England, best known for his part as lead guitarist in Radiohead, is a talented instrumentalist. Proficient in piano, viola, and drums, Greenwood can even play a primitive and special electronic instrument invented in 1928 called the ondium Martenot. Greenwood is a talented programer and sampler, who brings musical arrangement to the band’s demos.
Footage of the set can be found here.