REVIEW: Thom Yorke ‘sighs from the depths’ in SLC ahead of SF show

SALT LAKE CITY — Freezing temps and an off-the-beaten-path venue in an industrial-but-gentrifying part of town couldn’t keep fans away from Thom Yorke’s solo show at The Union Event Center Thursday night.

Thom Yorke
Oliver Coates

8 p.m., Saturday
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Tickets: $60-$80.

The Radiohead frontman has been hitting cities across the U.S. over the last few weeks on what really ends up being a tour four years overdue for his last solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

Thom Yorke, along with longtime collaborator Nigel Goodrich, launched into their 19-song two-hours-long set with “Interference,” the fuzzy lead track of his 2014 solo sophomore album. Yorke’s signature falsetto was in perfect form as he moved from instrument to instrument and device to device to deliver his electronica-infused brand of music.

His song selection has been stagnant on this tour. Mixing in five of the eight songs from Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, he’s also been playing a couple of newer songs that fans can only hope will be released sooner rather than later. The Salt Lake City show included “AMOK” and “Default” from his other band, “Atoms For Peace.”But fans reacted best when the beat from “Black Swan,” one of the most popular songs from 2006 solo debut The Eraser kicked in. Yorke followed that up with “Harrowdown Hill,” on which the 50-year-old kicked into the wrong verse about halfway through. While he’s not known to talk a lot during shows, Yorke worked passed the faux pas by replacing the existing lyrics with “I fucked up, I fucked up” — a play on the chorus of “Black Swan.”


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I might be still thinking about last night. Maybe. #thomyorke

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Yorke and Goodrich rarely slowed down during the show, and the visual art of Tarik Barri enhanced the experience of listening to Yorke sing and flail about the stage to the beats. Some fans were likely a bit disappointed because he skipped all Radiohead songs. But any disappointment was dispelled as the night went on, culminating into one unforgettable moment during the second encore.

He walked out alone to the piano sitting on stage and struck the F key, followed rhythmically by the G and C keys, signifying the start of “Suspirium.” A gorgeous song from the soundtrack to the Suspiria, the critically-acclaimed horror film Yorke scored this last year. The title translates loosely as “sighs from the depths,” and that can be said about much of Thom Yorke’s music. This moment alone was worth price of admission—there are few things as beautiful as Thom Yorke, alone on stage, with his voice and a few piano keys.

Experimental artist Oliver Coates opened the night with songs from his latest album, Shelley’s on Zenn-La—a title fitting of Coates’ style. “Shelley’s” refers to an old rave club in England, while “Zenn-La” is the birthplace of the super-villain Silver Surfer, of Fantastic Four fame. Coates’ electric cello, and programmed beats, mixed with spoken-word and pre-recorded singing would have been right at home in a rave club on the Silver Surfer’s home planet.

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