Who would you risk pneumonia to see in concert?

I found out my answer to that question the hard way last night, when I braved some seriously nasty weather to see Radiohead at Bristow, Virginia’s Nissan Pavilion. (What, you thought I was kidding?) Torrential rains flooded the roads to the venue, so just getting there felt like an episode of Man Vs. Wild; once I arrived, I plunged calf-deep into several cold, muddy puddles on my way to my seat, where I was only partially sheltered from the freezing sheets of water pelting the poor folks who had spots on the lawn. Let’s just say Thom Yorke’s flawless falsetto wasn’t the only thing making me shiver.

But you know what? It was so worth it! Those of us who made it into the theater on time were rewarded with a real prize of a set list. The band gave us spirited versions of O.G. fan favorites like "Lucky," "Paranoid Android" ("rain down," indeed), "Karma Police," and "Planet Telex" (the latter with a groovy rainbow-colored light show) — any one of which could have been the call-your-friend highlight of another show on its own. Thom repeatedly apologized to the sodden crowd; he even dedicated a touching "Fake Plastic Trees" to the fans who couldn’t make it to the venue due to the storm. Oh, and the jokes. Thom introduced an encore of "Optimistic" by instructing chilly lawn-dwellers to "Find someone to cuddle up with, find out where they live, go home, get undressed, and turn the heat up." If that option didn’t pan out, he suggested we "come backstage after the show, and we’ll get you sorted out"… lingering pause… "with towels ‘n’ s—!" ("Old school rock ‘n’ roll," another band member — I believe it was Ed O’Brien — quipped after the punchline.) Talk about a crowd-pleasing performance!

Anyway, it’s probably no surprise that a fanatical Radiohead bufflike me would be willing to stand in a damp amphitheater for two hoursjust to hear them play. Which brings me to my question: Are there anyartists you’d do the same for? Remember, respiratory ailments passafter a few weeks — awesome concerts last forever. And while we’re onthe subject, were any of you there with me at last night’s Bristowshow? (One final question: Am I the only one who can’t read thelocation of this concert without thinking of Alias?)

Set list:
"All I Need"
"Jigsaw Falling Into Place"
"Lucky"
"15 Step"
"Nude"
"Pyramid Song"
"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"
"Myxomatosis"
"Idioteque"
"Faust Arp" (acoustic)
"Videotape"
"Paranoid Android"
"Just"
"Reckoner"
"Everything In Its Right Place"
"Bangers + Mash"
"Bodysnatchers"
"Like Spinning Plates"
[set break]
"Optimistic"
"Karma Police"
"Go Slowly"
"Planet Telex"
"Fake Plastic Trees"
[set break]
"The National Anthem"
"House of Cards"

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • Robert

    I got walking pneumonia after seeing the Smashing Pumpkins in 1996, due to a combination of a pre-existing cold, rain & floor seats in an arena used mostly for hockey (Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena). Kind of worth it.
    But, I would absolutely risk it for Radiohead. Hell, I spent nearly $300 for a weekend pass to All Points West to see them two times in 2 days this August.

  • Robert

    I got walking pneumonia after seeing the Smashing Pumpkins in 1996, due to a combination of a pre-existing cold, rain & floor seats in an arena used mostly for hockey (Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena). Kind of worth it.
    But, I would absolutely risk it for Radiohead. Hell, I spent nearly $300 for a weekend pass to All Points West to see them two times in 2 days this August.

  • Mike

    I could live with the pneumonia had I actually made it into the show. But I was among the masses who were unable to make it in because one of the roads got flooded, and they were turning people away at the parking lot entrance. Not so fun.

  • Stephanie T.

    I caught a nasty cold after seeing VNV Nation last Fall. I am seeing The Cure at MSG in June. I’d totally risk Pneumonia to see them!

  • Alex

    I would most defiantly risk the rain for a Radiohead concert. And while I thought their Tampa show was amazing, I have to say the setlist for this concert has a couple more of my favorites than they played in Tampa.

  • charlene

    I had pit tickets, so I showed up early, but I feel sorry for everyone who didn’t make it. It was a fantastic show, but I was cold, wet, and miserable the entire time. I think Nissan completely dropped the ball on this one. They wouldn’t let anyone into the parking lot until 4pm, with the show starting at 7:30. That’s about 3 hours to get all those cars and people in, allowing the roads to get flooded and traffic to build up. Getting out after the show was just as bad. I have never had a good experience at that venue.

  • will

    Incredible show!! Minus the worst parking and traffic operation I’ve ever been apart of, incredible time (2 hours after the show we were still attempting to leave the parking lot. I was up in the lawn under a poncho and an umbrella watching Radiohead’s forceful will collide with Mother Nature. F’in awesome set!!!

  • Sketchee

    We made it! We prepared with ponchos and the lawn seats weren’t bad. I forgot about the rain pretty quickly. The traffic getting in made us miss the first few songs. We left from potomac mills (half hour away) at seven and didn’t get parked until after nine.

  • EP Sato

    Simon, my neighbor invited me to go to that show! But after risking pnemonia myself earlier that day (riding a Vespa on a rainy day = dumb), I wasn’t in the mood to get even more soaked.
    Fellow Pdubs, Simon’s not kidding. The weather in DC/NOVA has been a downright nasty downpour since Sunday afternoon. And he’s also right that Radiohead’s worth seeing under most circumstances.

  • Mark

    Yes, show was awesome and wet. we were diverted due to floods/road closure but still managed to not be more than 30 minutes late to the main act. 2 encores were amazing as well. I noticed Thom sings pretty much exactly the same melodies from the album because I was singing along with him almost note for note. Premium parking was worth the $30, as it was an easy out. I agree Nissan Pavilion is a nightmare… there should be more shows closer to Richmond VA (RIR, anyone?)

  • joe

    No pneumonia, but I did abandom my car on the side of the road and hike close to 2 miles with all my camping stuff to live in mud for 3 days for the final Phish concert. I lost a cell phone, shoes, glasses and watch in the muck, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the crowd would agree.

  • ryan97ou
  • R Viegas

    I really like Radiohead, but even though I got into the venue with plenty of time, I couldn’t rationally stay there. A couple of tracks after Lucky, we took off. Reading the comments of people that have stayed, I think we made the right decision.

  • Los

    I’d definitely risk it. Especially for that amazing setlist. I sure hope they play something similar at the Outside Lands Festival (less than 4 months away!!).

  • Theo

    I would risk to pneumonia to see Radiohead. But I would break my leg to see SAY ANYTHING! YEAH!!!!!!

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