Main Index >> Media Index >> Hail to the Thief Media | UK Media |
radiohead
The anthem of the weekend by a country mile - sung with hushed reverence - 'Fake Plastic Trees'
by Julian Marshall



There are some songs that can only be played to maximum effect when 100,000 people help you sing it. 'Fake Plastic Trees' is such a tune.

Played mid-set, after an equally jaw-loosening 'No Surprises', 'Fake Plastic Trees' is the peak of a gig that not only surpasses Radiohead's seminal 1997 performance, but goes racing way out in front with arms stretched aloft, eyes closed and smiling face raised to the stars.

Within seconds of the strummed acoustic intro to '…Trees', clichés start to break out in all corners of the field. as Thom sings, fireworks pop away on the horizon casting a pink and orange glow across thousands of beaming faces. Up on the hill loved-up couples kiss and pissed blokes dance like idiots, while the flag-wavers at the front sing every syllable of every word in a perfect, hushed tone. It's what festivals were invented for.

The difficulty Radiohead and their fans faced at Glastonbury, the very spot where their defining moment took place, was the risk they wouldn't be able to pull it off twice. But 'Fake Plastic Trees', 'Lucky', 'Karma Police' and 'Street Spirit', plus new songs 'There There' and '2-2=5', prove Radiohead are one of the most anthemic live bands of this or any other generation. That's like, ever, in the history of humans doing stuff. Ever.

In years to come everyone, from Thom Yorke right through to cynical security guards at the back of the field, will talk about Radiohead at Glastonbury 2003 in legendary terms. 'Fake Plastic Trees' was the most beautiful five minutes of the lot.