The Null Device

Radiohead in Melbourne

I went to the Radiohead show at the Rod Laver Arena tonight. Originally I was thinking of giving it a miss (spending 2 hours staring at The Cure through binoculars from half a kilometre or so away turned me against huge venues), though I ended up going; and I'm glad I did.

First up were the night's "special guests"; some JJJ alternative band neither I nor the indie kids next to me recognised. Rather energetic, punky and syncopated, though not impressive enough to make me hunt down their details and start following them around.

Then they stopped, having played for maybe half an hour (assuming that they started at 8; they were playing when I took my seat). While the stage was being set up, someone had decided to put a reggae CD on the PA; an odd choice, though pleasant enough.

Then Radiohead went on, and launched into There There. They did most of Hail To The Thief, a few older songs (Paranoid Android, No Surprises, Pyramid Song and Kid A were there, along with some from The Bends; one thing they didn't play, which would have been nice, was their piano-driven live version of Like Spinning Plates, though one can't have everything). It was quite an impressive set. Thom sang, danced around, played guitar, and played a grand piano which the roadies kept moving back and forth between songs; the other members did guitar, bass, Mellotron and glockenspiel, as well as providing harmony vocals. (I think it's the harmony vocals that really make Radiohead's sound. That and half a dozen other things, anyway.) They did an encore with about 3 songs in it, and finished up with a version of Kid A Everything In Its Right Place with Thom singing, then another member looping his voice through effects pedals or similar and chopping it up; then Thom walked off, while his digitally mangled vocals were playing; it was like a Blue Monday for the 21st century. Oh, and the light show wasn't bad either.

This time I got a slightly better seat than at the Cure gig; it was a few rows closer to the front (not that that made a huge dent in the distance), and was right in the middle. I discovered that my PowerShot G2's 11x digital zoom wasn't quite enough (I didn't manage to get any good close-ups of band members, save what was on the giant video screens beside the stage).

(Gig photography tip: Be sure to manually set the exposure time when taking photos. Digital cameras' automatic modes tend to err on the side of overexposure, leading to washed-out, blurry pictures. 1/100 to 1/160 was a good range for the pictures above.)

And I was not the only one taking photos, by the look of it. Below, the sea of heads that was the general admission area was dotted with the telltale glowing white rectangles of digital camera screens. In the row in front of me, one cheeky bugger was even telecasting it on his 3G phone to a mate.

There are 6 comments on "Radiohead in Melbourne":

Posted by: Belinda Mon Apr 26 21:25:30 2004

hehe i was doing that too, my friend in NZ will be very happy when he wakes up this morning to find a video of radiohead in his inbox :) and i flipped the lense over to show me being excited before flipping it back to rh. heh.

Posted by: Ben Tue Apr 27 00:22:33 2004

Any chance a write-up for Rocknerd?

Posted by: toby http:// Tue Apr 27 03:49:55 2004

A shutter speed isn't terribly informative without an aperture and an ISO setting. Generally a better rule of thumb is to underexpose by 1-2EV. The camera always -- modulo more intelligent metering -- assumes that the scene is an average of 18% (or 12% -- see gray. This means that for photos that are meant to be dark you'll need to underexpose relative to the metered value. Conversely, for photos that are meant to be bright (snow scenes, deserts) you'll need to overexpose (by up to 3EV in the case of snow scenes) to avoid pictures that are gray and drab.

If in doubt, bracket a few shots first up.

Posted by: acb Tue Apr 27 04:08:41 2004

ISO was set to 400 (i.e., the highest my PowerShot G2 can do); aperture was left as automatic.

Posted by: toby http:// Tue Apr 27 06:55:43 2004

So your camera was still choosing the exposure for you. More likely, actually, it was being forced to use the widest aperture available, which still resulted in underexposure.

Posted by: acb Tue Apr 27 07:57:22 2004

Except that the original problem was overexposure.