Back in 2006, I visited a friend whose family lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We spent a lot of time in the city, a place less easily defined by its own sociopolitical turmoil and more by its dual languages (Quechua and Spanish), cinnamon ice cream, and the hustle-bustle of its main avenues. But we also frequently drove out to the countryside to visit her family friends; there, it was quiet. I sat in the back of a car on one ride back into the city center, daydreaming and sleepy, when Radiohead’s “Talk Show Host” came on the radio. That song, slow and languid as my headspace, got everyone very quiet. At the moment, it seemed, there was only the song, until my friend’s mother broke the silence.
“I really, really love this song,” she said. “Who is this?”
I told her. She said she’d heard of them long ago. “I love Radiohead,” she confirmed.
Reverence for the band is fairly universal, and it has been this way for a long time. They revealed their musical chops early on Pablo Honey, exposing their heart and pulpy core: musical dexterity, lyrics at once tortured and wise, sage innovation. We still love songs like “Creep”; I watched a friend perform it at karaoke, and though its presentation was tinged with humor, even that garnered the same quiet reverence that “Talk Show Host” did in Cochabamba. It’s not just that Radiohead is one of the most ingenious bands of our time, perspicacious in their creativity—we feel their words.
So instantly accessible was their profundity that by the time OK Computer came out in 1997, it seemed that everything they did would become holy in the world of music.
Looking back on the Bolivia trip, I think perhaps the connection I felt with my friend’s mother was a superficial one, based purely on musical taste. But it was a spiritual one, too, a moment in which I felt I could understand the way she was feeling, audio waves traveling between us.
It’s no surprise then, that people are psyched to see Radiohead play Monday at American Airlines Arena. One particularly cruel individual attempted to resell a ticket to the show for $1,750. Would I pay that much to see Radiohead? No. There are few things worth $1,750, and a concert is not one of them. But the moment in the car in Bolivia was worth every penny I spent to get there. And I have Radiohead to thank for that.
Where: American Airlines Arena
When: Monday, February 27
Price: The show is sold out, and scalping a ticket will probably cost you a not-too-small fortune.
Contact: Visit aaarena.com