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Tour Archive: Diary from 2003 Radiohead tour

July 17 -

On the plane now from Amsterdam to Minneapolis. Last night seemed to go by like a flash. It was another soundcheck in the hot late-afternoon sun. The bullring in Madrid is a newer building, so though bigger than the Roman coliseum in Nimes, it was somewhat less awe-inspiring. We had been telling Hollis since before the tour that we were going to Ferdinand the Bull (it's a famous kid's book...) had been. She got to see the horse stables while we checked. As always, after we checked, we sat down and enjoyed the talents of the Radiohead tour caterers. We were daily amazed by the meals these gals turned out every day. They are probably the hardest working members of the crew, too, up often at 6 or 7 a.m. and not to bed until everything is packed up after the show. From what I gather, Sara, the main cook, is famous in the biz and highly sought after by those who can afford it.

Our set was quite fun that night. After all this time, we finally nailed a couple of the songs we had been working at and our mood with each other was the most relaxed it had ever been on these shows. Perhaps it was the relief of knowing it was the last one. Doing these shows was a dream come true for sure, and I suppose we would do it again if it ever came up, but it's really been a struggle to get a handle on this whole big rock show setting. Though people around us, including the guys in Radiohead, were reassuring us the whole way that it was getting across well, it never seemed like what we did got 3 or 4 heads beyond the barricade. I suppose people did listen, and there wasn't the constant din of chattering during the songs like we thought there would be, so maybe it did connect. I know to some it sounds vain and artless to be so preoccupied with whether we made an impact ("Oh, I hope they like me...") but, our shows in the past have always bee gauged on what kind of communication was made - even if it's a negative reaction. Anyway, I could blather on about it but it would just sound silly ... it went fine. We had a great time.

Radiohead were pretty solid, as usual. They had some feedback problems early in the set - first time I heard any for the whole tour, but then like I said, the place was odd - same design, basically, as the Nimes place, but somehow had a very different vibe. Maybe old violence is better than new. Again, it was packed - 13,000. I'll never forget how the place always goes ballistic on the "you have not been paying attention" part on "2+2=5."

After the show, we spent a lot of time chatting with them, Colin especially, who immediately after their set, came to our dressing room with a bottle of champagne. We talked about future plans, their coming tour in America, and kids. After some interviews, the rest joined us for talk, some pictures, and the inevitable farewell. Thom and I talked about their upcoming shows - they are apparently already catching flack in the US for their hinted antiwar/anti-Bush tendencies, so it's on their minds. Phil, the drummer, was again lovely to talk to and always the best dressed of the bunch. Even the "dark one," Johnny was quite social. Almost wish I had some kind of dirt or personal gripe to offer to make this whole thing sound more interesting, but that's that: They are really nice people who make great music and try very hard to make the whole experience for everyone around them as positive and selfless as possible. There were many personal interactions that went on that would make things maybe more descriptive than just "they were perfectly nice," but those will remain personal I guess. I'm not sure how this all came to be (and I'm sure there are some who are angrily asking the same thing...) but we are lucky to have done so. I wish them the best.