The singer performed a mammoth 19-song set laced with Radiohead tracks and tunes from his 2006 debut album ‘The Eraser’ at the Cambridge Corn Exchange.
The gig, which was performed in support of Tony Juniper – who, as well as campaigning to become a member of parliament, also accompanied Yorke as he crashed the UN Climate Change Conference in December – saw the singer switch between piano, keyboards, acoustic, electric and bass guitar throughout his performance.
Kicking off with ‘The Clock’, the singer, who decided not to bring his recently renamed all-star backing band Atoms For Peace, was in jovial spirits throughout the gig despite making a series of mistakes.
Introducing a beat-driven version of ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ early on, which saw the crowd cheer every time he made a mistake, Yorke joked: “When I was a kid I used to go into a shop around here and switch on all the Casio keyboards. It sounded a little bit like this.”
Launching into the first of three new tracks, ‘The Daily Mail’, a downbeat piano number featuring the cutting line, “No regard for human life,” he apologised for his performance on the previous song.
He then played ‘Pyramid Song’ and picked up a bass guitar for ‘Harrowdown Hill’ before he quipped: “Did someone just say ‘Flea‘ (bassist from his backing band and Red Hot Chili Peppers) then?”
‘Lotus Flower’, which he debuted in Los Angeles recently, also made an appearance, as did the second of his new tracks ‘Give Up The Ghost’, which featured a haunting vocal loop of Yorke repeatedly pleading “Don’t hold me“.
Again he apologised for struggling through the song but later went on to perform ‘I Froze Up’, which once appeared in a Radiohead webcast, before he played ‘Like Spinning Plates’.
Introducing the track, he explained his reasons for performing the gig, saying: “I should say something as to why I’m here tonight. I am sick of politicians not talking about green issues. What fucking blows my mind is that half the country is supporting environmental issues yet we are not represented in Parliament and the chance for that to change has got to happen.”
He went on to play his third new song, the folky ‘Mouse Dog Bird’, before rounding off his set with a powerful rendition of ‘Reckoner’, ‘Airbag’ and a rare outing for ‘True Love Waits’, which saw Yorke asking the crowd for a bit of help as he signed off, saying: “You might have to sing along for this one because I usually forget the fucking words.”
Thom Yorke played:
‘The Daily Mail’
‘Give Up The Ghost’
‘These Are My Twisted Words’
‘I Froze Up’
‘Like Spinning Plates’
‘Mouse Dog Bird’
‘Atoms For Peace’
‘True Love Waits’