Meeting People Is Easy
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|Meeting People Is Easy|
|Directed by||Grant Gee|
|Produced by||Dilly Gent|
|Edited by||Jerry Chater|
|Distributed by||Parlophone (EMI)|
|30 November 1998(UK, VHS)|
Meeting People Is Easy, first released on 30 November 1998, is a documentary by Grant Gee following British alternative rock band Radiohead on their exhaustive world tour following the success of their 1997 album OK Computer. The film was nominated Grammy Award for Best Music Film at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2000.
Meeting People Is Easy covers the promotion and tour for Radiohead's third album, OK Computer. The tour began on 22 May 1997 in Barcelona, Spain, and ended 104 performances later in New York's Radio City Music Hall. Most of the film comprises footage of the band working on music and performing (including a performance of "Karma Police" on Late Show with David Letterman,) filming promotional material, and giving interviews. It includes footage of the filming of the "No Surprises" music video and the failed studio session for the song "Man of War".
In an interview, director Grant Gee explained the production process of filming Meeting People Is Easy. Gee explains that Radiohead "sat in these hotel suites for three days, four suites booked up simultaneously" doing interviews; 20-minute slots for interviews, a 40-minute slot if it was a bigger newspaper or magazine. To film and record every individual interview, Gee had to have been "running around, leaving a microphone in one room, going and filming something in another".
Although Meeting People Is Easy is not a traditional concert film as it often cuts away from songs before they are finished, it features clips of several recordings that are not found in other official releases:
- "Follow Me Around," played by Yorke on an acoustic guitar to an empty auditorium, with the rest of the band later joining in. This track was known only from this film, and in 2000 during the band's Toronto concert it was performed live during the encore following a female fan's vocal request—Thom responded to the fan, and then played Follow Me Around to an ecstatic audience. Yorke has since performed the song several times at solo appearances, or included a few lines from the song in Radiohead performances, but the song has never been performed with the full band. The lyrics of later versions differ, referencing former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Yorke singing "Did you lie to us, Tony?/We thought you were different/Now, y'know, we're not so sure" at Earl's Court in November 2003.
- Several unidentified brief instrumental keyboard pieces are heard in the background during the film.
Versions and live performances of songs that were already released or eventually released:
- A brief clip of Yorke singing an early version of "I Will" in soundcheck.
- An acoustic guitar version of "Life in a Glasshouse" performed by Yorke in soundcheck.
- Clips of the band mixing the song "Palo Alto", intercut with urban scenes of Japan.
- An early version of "How to Disappear Completely" from a 1997 tour.
- Partial performances and recordings of most songs on OK Computer and some of that era's b-sides, including a long sequence featuring instrumental song "Meeting in the Aisle."
- Several performances of "Creep".
- A sample from what would become "Cymbal Rush"" on Yorke's album The Eraser.
- A live performance of "Nude" from a 1998 tour, which would later be released on In Rainbows nearly a decade later.
- Very brief clips of live performances of "Planet Telex" and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)".
- The band's scrapped recording sessions for "Man of War" in March 1998 in Abbey Road Studios for the film The Avengers. "Man of War" was released on the 20th-anniversary OK Computer reissue, OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017 in 2017.
Meeting People Is Easy was released on VHS on 30 November 1998 in the United Kingdom. It was released on DVD on 12 June 2000. It was released in both formats on 18 May 1999 in the United States.
In subsequent years EMI and other record labels had released countless DVDs to promote pop and rock acts, as the format has become dominant over VHS in most parts of the world. In 1999, the film became the DVD ever released by Radiohead's record label EMI/Parlophone/Capitol Records.
Several television channels broadcast Meeting People Is Easy after its release. In the UK, Channel 4 broadcast the film on 6 May 1999. In the US, MTV broadcast a premiere of the film on 16 May 1999, and The Sundance Channel broadcast the documentary 9 times during May 2000.
Reception for Meeting People Is Easy was positive. The film received an average rating of 6.5/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, giving it 71% freshness. Reviewer Jessica Brandt of theshrubbery.com gave 5 out of 5 stars. Film critic Daniel Fletcher named Meeting People is Easy one of his ten favourite films. Troy Patterson, a critic for Entertainment Weekly, gave the film a B+, calling it "an expressive mood piece creepy with cosmopolitan paranoia and bracingly somber bombast". Bart Blasengame gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating: "Instead of taking the usual tour documentary approach and dwelling on individual concerts or behind-the-scenes banter between the band, Gee's film focuses on the absurdity of being an important rock band in the current musical landscape – the shallow marketing of the band, the endless stream of redundant interviews, the blinding photo shoots and awkward television appearances." Kevin Archibald of IGN gave the film a rating of 8/10.
The film has sold over half a million copies on DVD/VHS.
Awards and nominations
- Blasengame, Bart. "It Ain't Easy Being..." music-critic.com. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "19 Unreleased Radiohead Songs That Could Be on Their Next Album - The Pitch - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Kim, Brandon. "Is "Meeting People" Still Easy?". Independent Film Channel. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Review: Radiohead - "Lift"". Spin. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
- "RADIOHEAD MEETING PEOPLE IS EASY (1999)". BFI Film & TV Database. BFI. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- "Meeting People Is Easy on Sundance Channel". ateaseweb.com. 1 May 2000. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Radiohead: Meeting People Is Easy (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Brandt, Jessica (June 1999). "Movie Review – Meeting People is Easy (A Radiohead Documentary)". theshrubbery.com. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "THE TOP 10 PROJECT INDIVIDUAL LISTS". thecinematheque.com. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Patterson, Troy (21 May 1999). "Video Review – Meeting People is Easy (1999)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Grant Gee – Director Profile". sheffdocfest.com. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Awards for Meeting People Is Easy". IMDB. Retrieved 14 May 2009.