“Garden of Earthly Delights” #5
I had heard “Santa Teresa” before, so I expected “Brasil” to follow in the same style. The opening guitar was similar, but lyrics were now present. Hearing Ed O’Brien singing immediately took full control of my ears. I was completely hypnotized by the guitar’s melody and his serene voice. As the guitar’s melody slowly faded, an intense kick drum entered to establish a new, lively groove. Then the bass entered with the same amount of force as the kick drum. When that bass entered, I knew that I needed to keep up any future content that was to be released.
Ed O’Brien, going by EOB for his solo material, is widely known for being one-fifth (or one-sixth depending if you include Nigel) of the innovative band Radiohead. I am a Radiohead fan, thanks to my dad raising my ears properly, so naturally, I would follow any solo content released from the individual members. Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, and Phil Selway have had many projects outside of Radiohead. But now it was time for Ed to release his first solo album. Earth.
EOB performed his second North American concert (1st in the States) at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL. The venue was sold out, so it was packed with fans who were as eager as me to hear new material from Earth. “Shangri-La” was released a few days before any concerts began, but other tracks included on the album were still an auditory mystery. I could have spoiled myself with the already released videos of the Canadian concert, but that would have taken the element of surprise away from my listening experience.
Waiting for EOB to take the stage went over the intended amount of time, but “Born Under Punches,” “Vitamin C,” and the many conversations had while waiting were pleasant distractions from the wait. Around 9:15 pm, EOB humbly took to the stage. He was accompanied by his band, with whom he had been rehearsing for three weeks in Wales. The bandmates (in no particular order) were Dishan Abrahams on bass, Hinako Omori on keyboards/vocals, Alvin Ford, Jr on drums, and Ross Chapman on guitar/vocals. They began with “Love Story,” followed by the familiar and newly released “Shangri-La.” Other songs from that point on (except Brasil) were going to be completely new to my ears.
Each track had its own atmosphere; each inviting a different response. There were songs that made me sway, songs that made me jump, songs that even struck an emotional response from me. I was hypnotized by every song played. I was letting myself fall into the complete control of the melodies and grooves. But it was the force behind Ed’s voice that attracted me to the songs. I didn’t want the concert to end.
During the performance, there were some mistakes due to Ed being nervous. But that did not take away from the completely fantastic experience of the concert. Everyone was very understanding and supportive throughout the entire performance. EOB was very humble about his debut U.S. solo performance, saying he felt “he hadn’t touched the ground yet.” This is a huge step for EOB, but it’s a step in the right direction. I can only imagine just what stage command he will have when he’s “touched the ground.”
The concert made me anticipate the release of Earth even more. Thankfully I pre-ordered a copy already. This solo album is truly a beautifully crafted debut from a man who is playing from the heart. Each new song was layered with an honest and personal touch from EOB. I do hope he and his bandmates return in May for another concert after the album’s release. I can only wait patiently and calmly, while I have his new music supporting me in my wait. I wish only the best for EOB.
If you wish to keep up with information regarding EOB and Earth, follow him on social media.
I am very grateful to have attended this concert. It was truly fantastic! Below I have a few of the many pictures I took during the concert.