Monday, September 04, 2006

Why a Radiohead Concert Might Be More Like Heaven Than a Church Service

This is a provocative title, and I partially mean it. I'm not just using hyperbole to praise Radiohead.

I had the privilege of seeing the June 28th show in San Diego. If you ever have a chance to see a show at Embarcadero Marina, do it. The venue is outside right near the harbor and if you are clever (I wasn't), you can go to shows for free by simply putting a boat in the water and sailing around the outside of the venue. The view wouldn't be bad either, probably about the same as from the edge of the bleachers.

Thom Yorke responded in a humorous way to the surroundings when he acknowledged the concert crashers. Yelling into the mic he said "Hey you there in the lake, did you pay then?" Of course, everyone loved this. I can't remember which song they went into after that, but it was a good transition. I'd like to say it was "Everything in Its Right Place," but that's probably a falsification.

Thom sings Happy Birthday to Colin Greenwood, photo borrowed from limegreeneye@flickr.

In what way was the concert more like heaven than church? I was reminded of at least two ways (that I probably originally felt at a U2 show). I don't mean that I feel closer to God at a Radiohead concert. Rather, I think that there is a sense of eternity at a good concert. That is, no one there wants it to end. After Radiohead played for nearly two hours everyone yelled until the band came out for an encore. If this method continued to work, I'm fairly sure that most people would have stayed all night. It's that kind of special feeling that is hard to explain and create. Historically significant events have the same sort of quality. Sometimes I do feel this way after worship, but there is no way that the majority of people in the church do, because I can always tell who can't wait to get out of the service. Why does Radiohead do a better job at captivating people's attention?

Probably it's because Radiohead doesn't play every Sunday, and because the audience adores the band. Although this is most likely bordering on idolatry, there is a great sense of unity in the crowd because of this shared acknowledgement of talent. While I do feel unified with other Christians at church, I don't always share the same attitudes toward the worship and sermon. I imagine that in Heaven everyone will justifiably adore their creator, and this sense of adulation will be a very powerful unifying force.


RD said...

Excellent news about starting a blog - a review on Lying Awake would be most welcome (send it to Hey, sorry about not being able to meet up earlier this summer. I'm still in Vancouver for work, but will be home in a couple weeks. We should hang out.

RD said...

Excellent news about your starting a blog! Yes, a review of Lying Awake would be most welcome, and maybe I'll commission some more when I think of some other books I want reviewed (send it to Hey, sorry about not being able to meet up earlier this summer - I'm still in Vancouver for work, but should be back in two weeks. Let's hang out.

RD said...

you no like my other comment? i didn't see it posted. did you even see it?