While most pop acts these days are happy to only scratch the emotional surface with their music, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke takes the less-traveled road, wearing his stories of pain and escape on his sleeve for all the world to feel. On the concert stage with his four bandmates, his songs are given their most compelling delivery, often emotionally topping the recordings. At the sold-out Wiltern, the start of the group's monthlong North American tour, the slightly built Yorke elevated the songs with improvisational flourishes that indicated he was as caught up in the music as the enraptured audience.
On newer material from “OK Computer” (Capitol) — one of the year’s most fulfilling collections — Yorke couches expressions of yearning and angst in stories of alien encounter or computer-age dread, but at the crux of each song is a unifying sentiment of optimism.
All three of the band’s albums were represented at this star-studded show (Michael Stipe, Liv Tyler, members of Hole, etc.), including early hit “Creep.” But it was the superior “OK Computer” material that made the best impression, including “Karma Police,” with its sense of satisfying retribution, and the escapist “Exit Music (From a Film),” from last year’s “Romeo & Juliet.”