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Friday, Aug. 8, 2008
It's been nearly five years since their last Japan visit, but Radiohead are back.
In the hubbub over the daring digital release of the band's "In Rainbows" album last October, where fans could pay any price they liked, most publications seemed to overlook the most important element: the music. Easily Radiohead's best album since 2000's "Kid A," "In Rainbows" deals in earthy atmospherics and lean songwriting, and the spine-tingling album was nominated last month for Britain's prestigious Nationwide Mercury Prize.
Their mammoth world tour stops in Japan in October, and two new dates were announced this week. In addition to two sold-out dates in Saitama and two Osaka dates that are still on sale, Radiohead will also play Oct. 7 and 8 at the 5,012-seat Tokyo International Forum.
Reports so far are that the band are on fiery form and that the new material sounds even better live than on disc (or disk, for the downloaders). The set list on the tour has varied from show to show but has been taking in songs from every one of their diverse albums since 1995's "The Bends," throwing in an acoustic set and, at a London show, putting frontman Thom York on drums.
Almost as fascinating is the band's eco-friendly touring setup, with low-energy LED stage lights and video screens running on a custom-made rechargeable battery (for alternate nights only — the charging cycle takes too long to use it every night), and all their gear sent around the world by boat, setting the band a smaller carbon footprint.
Tickets for the Tokyo shows are likely to sell out before you can say "A pig in a cage on antibiotics," so you'd be wise to car-share your way to the nearest ticket agency, pronto.
Radiohead play Oct. 1 and 2, Osaka Central Municipal Gymnasium (¥9,500;  7732-8888); 4 and 5, Saitama Super Arena (sold out); 7 and 8, Tokyo International Forum (¥9,500-11,000;  3462-6969). For further information for all dates, see www.creativeman.co.jp.