Latitude: Thom Yorke

A rare-as hen’s teeth solo set from Thom Yorke kicked off proceedings on the Obelisk Stage at midday. The Radiohead frontman performed a set on guitar and grand piano, drawing on tracks from his debut solo album, 2006’s Eraser, a handful of Radiohead tracks, and some lesser-known tracks, including one new composition and a few seldom-played gems and fan favourites Yorke described as “left on the shelf”.

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A rare-as hen’s teeth solo set from Thom Yorke kicked off proceedings on the Obelisk Stage at midday.

The Radiohead frontman performed a set on guitar and grand piano, drawing on tracks from his debut solo album, 2006’s Eraser, a handful of Radiohead tracks, and some lesser-known tracks, including one new composition and a few seldom-played gems and fan favourites Yorke described as “left on the shelf”.



The side-of-stage screens were switched off, suggesting Yorke is still not entirely happy under the camera’s gaze, but that aside, he was avuncular and chatty, bantering about Grace Jones’ G-string – “Could I pull one of those off?” he asks, and going on the crowd response, well, maybe – expressing dismay he wasn’t playing down by the riverside, and at one point, simply beaming “I’m having a lovely time!”

The Radiohead songs, like “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and “Everything In Its Right Place”, were made possible with deft use of a loop pedal, Yorke playing quick snatches and then looping them back, filling out songs bit by bit.

Eraser was represented by brooding, largely electronic cuts like “The Eraser” and the overlooked “Harrowdown Hill”, Yorke’s harrowing song about the death of Dr David Kelly, the former UN Weapons inspector who died in mysterious circumstances in 2003. The currently nameless new song, meanwhile, was debuted on acoustic guitar, Yorke singing about “self-defence against the present” atop spiralling arpeggios recalling the sophisticated guitar-work of In Rainbows.

The crowd called him back for an encore, which culminated with a run through Radiohead’s great lost song, “True Love Waits”.

Elsewhere this morning, author and journalist Jon Ronson continued the mood of conspiracy theory and middle-class ennui, reading from his book Them: Adventures With Extremists – currently being made into a film starring Ewan McGregor and George Clooney – and relating a few anecdotes from the writing of his new book, which apparently involves him interviewing psychopaths in Broadmoor. Somehow, he even managed to make this gently funny, but such is Latitude.

LOUIS PATTISON

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