Day 3: Optimus Dies – the end of the festival




Day Three of Optimus Alive was always going to be about one thing – Radiohead. The park was full to capacity on a day when temperatures reached into the early thirties. I got there about 8pm after being warned there were queues, but I breezed through the gate with no problem. Met up with a friend and then headed to the main stage where Caribou were beginning. A four piece band that seemed lost on the massive stage as they all played in a tight group in the middle. Their base heavy electronica was not right for the main stage, but it was welcomed well by the growing crowd. After listening for about half an hour we headed off to get some food and play a bit of table football. We lost one of the balls when it flew off the table and got kicked into the crowd by a passer by! I was so pleased the manager of the tables did not see!


Then it was back to Radiohead. The crowd was packed, but unusually about 15 minutes beforehand people stopped trying to push to the front and it was comfortable where we were. The optimus cowboy hats mentioned in my previous post were still a pain, but as they were only given out the night before then there were less of them! The band started with “Bloom”and then “15 Step” followed by generic Radiohead for the next 45 minutes. The visual set up was weird -12 screens at the back of the stage each one providing the view from a camera focused on a different member of the band. This was OK, but it was also repeated on the main screens to give a screen bank effect. This would have been good inside an auditorium, but for a large open air concert, where the view is limited at the best of times it was frustrating as you could not see the action on the stage. In fact the local cameras were not used at all! However, these screens were used effectively especially when used selectively on songs that started with the singer and then added instruments later.


The sublime “Exit music for a film” got the crowd singing along and it was followed by a diverse range of their music from the slower “Lotus Flower” to the heavier and quicker “Bodysnatchers” prior to them leaving the stage. The first encore peaked with the brilliant “Paranoid Android” and “Everything in its place”, which was preceded by an excellent harmonic verse of “This one goes out to the one I love”. A second encore of “Street Spirit” left the crowd wanting more, however that was it! No “Creep” though, which was very disappointing!


The crowds started leaving just before the end and I noticed that I was passed by a very pale looking woman, who then proceeded to faint about 5 foot behind me. She was surrounded by people so I just shone the torch on my phone so people could see to help. She was OK and after about 5 minutes recovering she got up and was helped on her way. Afterwards, I stuck around to avoid the crowds leaving but as it was still an hour before the next band was on the second stage, I decided to call it a night. Managed to negotiate the crowds to the station, got the train, and a seat, and got back at 2.30am.  


So Optimus Alive is over – next up Keane. Optimus was good, but promised more, especially with the cancellation of Florence and the Machine and the disappointing Stone Roses.I am still not sure I like these big festivals, but often the draw of the bands is to big not to attend!  


Best Song: “Exit Music for a Film”

Biggest Gripe: The guy in front of me who insisted on whistling without warning throughout the concert – causing sudden pain in my right ear, and the idiot with the large Russian flag on a large pole directly in front of the stage who obscured the view for many people.  

Most Amusing Moment: Listening to an English guy on the train talking to his girlfriend. He was constantly telling her he wanted to go and get f****d up when he got back to Lisbon and have a good time. He wanted to find some cool bar with locals who would realise he was not a pratt after a few drunken minutes talking to them and would then recognized him for being a total legend that he was! There were a few minor problems with this as his girlfriend pointed out, one they only had five euros left, they had a large hill to climb afterwards, he was very drunk already and it was late on a Sunday and the bars may not be open. After some persuading, he decided that actually he was drunk and that all he wanted to do was go back to the hotel for some water. What an awesome woman!  The last time I saw him he was negotiating with a street seller for a flashing led ring!  


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