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Radiohead Light Up All Points West With Two Headlining Performances

August 9, 2008 11:50 PM ET

The first night featured a dedication to Underworld, the second to Kings of Leon, but aside from a few cosmetic differences Radiohead performed a pair of solid two-plus-hour headlining sets at New Jersey's All Points West festival this weekend. Both shows were heavy on material from In Rainbows, and the Friday night crowd emitted a particularly loud rumble of approval for "Idioteque" from Kid A. Orange and yellow lights bathed the audience during "Lucky," waking fans from the drowsy lullaby of "All I Need." With Manhattan looming behind the audience, Thom Yorke dedicated "Pyramid Song" to "a very hectic city."

The band's LED lights were just as mesmerizing on Saturday night, as Radiohead took the stage again to toy with distance and intimacy in a massive setting. The only shots the band allowed on the Jumbotron were extreme close-ups (Yorke's wriggling scruff, a mallet hitting a glockenspiel), so the crowd went craziest for the most tender and human elements of the night — the vulnerable solo vocals on "Nude," the extra slow version of "Exit Music for a Film" — but maybe they were just breaking the tension.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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