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Tour Archive: Diary from 2003 Radiohead tour

July 8 -

Hollis isn't quite adjusting, sleep-schedule wise, as much as we hoped. We thought she would go down fine since she fell asleep at the show last night, but once we got back, she didn't go top sleep until almost 1 a.m. Tonight it's nearly 2 and she's still awake. So, today we got up and headed out before noon. The drive was longer than expected and we made it just in time to hurry and set up and do a quick check, finishing again just as the first anxious audience members came through the gate. I think I heard a few of them shouting "Santa Maria" as they sat down on the pavement in front of the stage. Are they thanking the patron saint of good seats or asking for protection when the crowd later crushes them against the barricade? The place was at the top of a hill/mountain, overlooking the city of Florence. The backstage area was up against a stone balcony and the view was amazing. We went on as the sun set.

With the first show jitters gone, we were a little more relaxed. We're still feeling our way around the large stage dynamic. Louder songs of course go over better and we're kinda letting ourselves do that for a change, just to see how we feel. I always thought it was cheap to go for the louder songs instead of sticking to the Low "program," but we're getting more comfortable with it, and I think it sounds good. I'm always debating it in my head: Stick to the unique thing we've developed over all these years or let ourselves go wherever we want - whatever seems right. Freedom is nice and all, but some of the best things come out of restraint. Songs like "Candy Girl," "The Lamb," "In Metal," "Canada," and "Snowstorm" are exciting to play and certainly go over well.

Anyway, for now we're having fun with the big rock show thing.

Chatted a bit more with the Radiohead guys. Being an equipment geek, I've been nosing around at their stuff, talking to the backline guys, taking notes in my head. They are an interesting and varied bunch, technology-wise. For instance, while Johnny plays some stuff using effects on a laptop and expensive hand-built analog modular synth filters, he also gets his famous crunchy guitar sound from a small solid-state practice amp and a cheap distortion pedal - yes, the world famous "KA-CHUNK" on "Creep" can be yours at the local pawn shop, not the fancy vintage, expensive, tone-guru equipment boutique.

The crowd was jammed in tight in the space. I spent some time standing on the side of the stage during Radiohead's set, watching the people bounce, churn, and scream. Same place tomorrow.