Thom Yorke closed out the first of two sold-out shows at L.A.’s Greek Theatre on Tuesday night by performing a new song from the “Motherless Brooklyn” soundtrack. He dedicated the somber piano ballad, “Daily Battles,” to the film’s director-star Ed Norton, who stood in wonderment only a few feet from the stage.
“If I f— it up, Ed, it’s because it’s the first time I’ve played it (live),” Yorke warned.
Norton has said in previous interviews that he loves the song so much, he put it in the film twice. “Motherless Brooklyn,” about a New York detective struggling with Tourette disorder, opens Friday.
Also on hand for Yorke’s audio-visual spectacle was director Paul Thomas Anderson, a frequent collaborator of Yorke and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, along with his wife Maya Rudolph, “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul and Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu.
The beat-heavy show was dominated by tracks from Yorke’s latest effort, “Anima,” as well as songs spanning from his solo albums “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes,” “The Eraser” and Atoms for Peace’s “Amok.”
Backed by producer Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri, whose colorful and fevered projections supercharged the event from beginning to end, Yorke performed 21 songs in total. Describing the show as somewhat of a “hometown” gig (Yorke spends time between L.A. and London), the Radiohead frontman seemed more relaxed and playful than ever on this uncharacteristically chilly night in L.A.
On “Amok,” Yorke strummed away on his Stratocaster with Godrich on bass as a colorful exposition of static adorned the giant screen. “Dawn Chorus,” another highlight, featured Yorke ditching his powerful falsetto and reflecting on whether self-transformation was even possible: “You can do it all again, Yeah without a second thought…”
“Anima” standouts “Twist” and “Traffic” put an exclamation to the regular set, bringing the bundled-up audience members back to their feet, even way in the back, as if someone had just lit a fire.
Thom Yorke performs at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles again on Wednesday, Oct. 30.