Nos Alive day two sees the sun-soaked Lisbon festival reach an almighty peak with performances from Radiohead, Tame Impala, Foals, Hot Chip and many more. We know, right? They really do spoil us.
In a world where, according to common saying, "to be Portuguese is to be Catholic", Radiohead closing the Friday night of NOS Alive is the nearest thing you'll get to a Holy Mass in Lisbon this weekend. The sold out second day of the festival has a palpable tension, the air thick with anticipation - long before the band hit the stage. Everyone, it seems, is here for this.
Nina Simone's heartfelt words on freedom play over the PA as Oxford's finest emerge: “I’ll tell you what freedom is for me. No fear.”
There's no fear and no surprises (and no pun intended) as they open - as with every date on this 'A Moon Shaped Pool' tour - with the first five tracks from their latest record. The cacophonous ferocity of 'Burn The Witch' dissipates into the composed euphony of 'Daydreaming'. The thousands stand still, hushed in deferential silence, as Thom Yorke reminds us "this goes beyond me, beyond you".
That respectful fandom is rewarded almost immediately after 'Ful Stop' with a trip through the great Radiohead catalogue. The Bends' 'My Iron Lung' finds universal adoration before rarity number one, 'Talk Show Host', proves you should never second guess this band. This isn't a paycheck performance, this isn't just another festival show. This is a performance for the ages from arguably the greatest band of our time.
Animated throughout, Yorke doesn't just sing 'Lotus Flower', he writhes and twists like a conduit for every beat, every ethereal note he lets loose. A Moon Shaped Pool songs punctuate an eclectic and masterfully crafted setlist. Classic Kid A is not to be forgotten as 'Everything in Its Right Place' morphs into a refashioned 'Idioteque' - the exoergic energy of which has Lisboa chanting. "Ice age coming!"
The visceral immediacy of 'Bodysnatchers' drops into the great closing moment of the first half: 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)'. A song the band once claimed to be one of their "saddest" is tonight joyous, the choir of voices lifting it to a higher plane.
Encore number one is longer than setlist.fm devotees would have predicted and - sandwiched among the five songs - we hear the wistful and delicate 'Nude'. As with 'Reckoner', it's the silent respect of more than 40,000 fans that is so notable; it sends you to an almost spiritual time and space where you feel completely aware of the moment as you get further and further lost within it.
It's approaching 1am by the time encore two begins. Clearly Thom, Jonny, Ed, Phil and Colin are in generous mood as they stroll back on stage. “I don’t know, what do you think?" Yorke enigmatically teases in a rare address to the festival crowd. What was the greatest rarity for Radiohead, the band play breakthrough hit 'Creep' to arguably the greatest rapture of the night.
Then, to cap what will undoubtedly be the performance of the weekend, 'Karma Police' puts one final refrain in the air, Thom Yorke staying on stage with his acoustic guitar to see the adoration move across the sea of fans, each taking something quite special home with them after tonight. For a minute there we lost ourselves too.
Radiohead's setlist was:
Burn the Witch
Desert Island Disk
My Iron Lung
Talk Show Host
Exit Music (for a Film)
Everything in Its Right Place
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
2 + 2 = 5
After Radiohead, we raved our way into the wee hours with a set of immaculate electro-pop from Hot Chip - a band who seem so perfectly skilled at taking all of the greatest aspects of your guiltiest pleasures and morphing them into a full-on dancefloor onslaught. Their set lands like one of the greatest greatest hits albums of all time, you can't help but move. And the closer of a cover of Bruce Spingsteen's 'Dancing In The Dark' into Prince's 'Purple Rain' sung to the tune of LCD Soundsystem's 'All My Friends'? A stroke of genius.
"Oh, I see what you're doing Lisbon," smiles Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker with a devilish grin, "taking your clothes off in front of the camera. Do what you want, this is a festival."
Amen, and never as the track 'Let It Happen' seemed more fitting as droves of sun-kissed beautiful youths, both male and female, take to the skies on their friends shoulders to lose their minds and a few items of clothing. From Primavera to Glastonbury, Tame Impala's mesmeric psych has proven to be the sound of summer 2016. With a full-bodied world of sound, an angelic voice and a genuine, warming heartfelt sentiment that runs through all they do, they simply couldn't do more to make you fall in love so absolutely - then they throw in cannons full of ticker tape. Pure, audio, visual bliss.
Tame Impala's setlist was:
Let It Happen
Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?
Why Won't They Talk to Me?
The Less I Know the Better
Daffodils (Mark Ronson cover)
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
New Person, Same Old Mistakes
Drummer Jack Bevan leads the charge from the back, donning a pretty special 'I Wanna Be Inside EU' t-shirt. As the kraut-rock beat to 'Snake Oil' welcomes the band to the stage before all tension is dissipated with an almighty, howling release, it's clear that Foals are in the mood to celebrate being united with Europe, if only for tonight at least.
It seems somewhat perverse that the band are on so early on the bill, especially given their headline-worthy set at Glastonbury a few weeks ago, and what awaits them at Reading + Leeds next month. However as the early evening sun bakes down and all revellers quickly lose their minds, time doesn't seem to ever really matter - Foals always play like each gig is their last.
Frontman Yannis Philippakis jerks, shrieks and flies across the stage as if he's either at battle with himself, or itching to get out of his own skin. But that's not to say it's all pure punk abandon. The full, considered and artful scope of a sound that can only be theirs is explored - be it the shameless pop bounce of 'My Number', the feral insanity of 'Providence', the post-rock odyssey of 'Spanish Sahara' of the devastating elegiac grace of 'Late Night'.
Sealed with a kiss and a kick in the face from the snarling beasts of closers 'Inhaler' and 'What Went Down', Yannis takes to the crowd to eyeball the masses making the moshpit swell - and then it's over, all too soon. Just think of the damage they could do with a headline slot. The future is theirs.
Red Socks Pugie
Mountain At My Gates
A Knife In the Ocean
What Went Down
Nos Alive continues and concludes today with performances from Arcade Fire, M83, Band Of Horses, Ratatat, Four Tet and many more. Check back at Gigwise for the latest news, reviews, photos and more from Nos Alive 2016.