Radiohead fans have a very exciting year ahead with the band headlining at some of the biggest festivals around the world like Lollapalooza, Osheaga and The Secret Solstice. So just in case you needed any more incentive to go watch one of the biggest bands in the world, we drew up a list of some of the craziest festival performances by them!
Can any article concerning Radiohead performances go without mentioning the epic performance of 1997 in Glastonbury ? Just having released their milestone album Ok Computer! they delivered a historic performance at the mother of all music festivals, Glastonbury. Singing to a crowd of almost 40,000 Thom Yorke and gang dazzled and dazed with their prowess. It would be extremely rare to find a live performance that stirs the recesses of your soul. Don’t believe us? Let this spine-tingling version of Creep haunt you.
2. Glastonbury, 2003.
After their memorable performance in 1997, Radiohead returned to the Pyramid stage to rock out again in 2003. This has been described as one of their most ethereal performances ever. Wayne Coyne, the lead singer of Flaming Lips (who also performed at Glasto in 2003), said this was ‘one of the greatest shows I have seen’, whilst other publications termed it as the gig of a lifetime. And we completely agree. Yorke and the band had the crowd almost praying to them as they were serenaded with one classic after another. Till date one of their best performances, it was almost spiritual when they played Fake Plastic Trees.
3. Glastonbury, 2010.
After heated rumours about their slot in Glastonbury that year, Radiohead finally stepped in for a surprise gig at The Party stage at Glastonbury. Until the moment that they actually made it on stage, it wasn’t known who was going to be performing. Would it be Pearl Jam? Or Coldplay? Nope, it was Radiohead all right. Well half of Radiohead, as it was just Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood. But they were more than enough to deliver one of the most raw and inhibited performances ever. And fortunately it was captured on camera. Watch how the mesmerised crowd continues singing the haunting words ‘I lost myself’ much after the song is over, only for Yorke to pick up the guitar and join in as well! Also, a ridiculously beautiful rendition Street Spirit for you to marvel at their ingenuity.
4. Coachella, 2012.
Coachella was more than ready for Radiohead in 2012 and the band delivered far beyond expectations. Sticking to an aloof and mysterious vibe, the band did what it is loved and revered for. Their performance was not what everyone was expecting, owing to the festival’s general vibe but the band managed to take the arena by storm. The highlight of the performance was when they played the chilling Pyramid Song.
5. Bonnaroo, 2012.
When they performed at Bonnaroo in 2012, Radiohead was a different band, Much different than their first time there, which was in 2006. With two globally acclaimed and widely experimental albums under their belt since, the band was an entirely different experience. Though many consider their 2006 performance iconic, it was in 2012 that the band was creating something on another level. Mostly playing tunes from their latest albums, they surprised fans by giving a performance much sharper and leaner than many of their previous ones. One of the best examples of their range was when they performed the electrifying Idioteque, which had the crowd grooving to every beat.
6. Bilbao BBK
Besides being one of the prettiest music festivals in the world, Bilbao BBK is also known for its incredible lineups. Radiohead brought the house down in 2012 by wowing Spanish audiences with a heady combination of the best of their new and old music. The band was ecstatically encouraged by their eager fans, who loved every bit of it. This is one of their best performances because you can see them feeling the incredible vibe especially when they played the addictive Give Up The Ghost.
7. Lollapalooza, 2008.
The band’s headlining set at Lollapalooza was filled with ‘In Rainbows’ their latest album and people thronged from all over to watch the British rockers. Bassist Gordon Moakes was on paternity leave at the time, but was aptly replaced by the talented Daniel Lindergren. The new additions did nothing to dampen the band’s usual energy as they powered on to perform some of their latest stuff to the crowd. Radiohead has got to be one of the few bands in the world that are enjoyed equally by the audience, whether they play fresh music or classics. Watch as they give a smashing performance of one of their most insanely brilliant songs, Paranoid Android.
8. Live at Reading, 2009.
Reading is known for its rock acts, so its no surprise that Radiohead delivered their most mind blowing performances here in 2009. Without a doubt, this was one of their best live renditions of their most famous song, Creep. The crowd went absolutely bonkers as they opened with it. With massive production and an unbelievable crowd, all joining in to sing, this remains till date one of their most special performances of the song.
9. Fuji Rock, 2012
When the band performed at the rock mecca in 2012, it was like an explosion. The iconic festival invited the rockers to close the 3 day affair by headlining and sweet lord, what a beautiful performance it was. Probably one of their most aesthetically stupendous performances, everything was perfect. From the insane set list that included ‘Lotus Flower’, ‘Bloom’ and ’15 Step’. Yorke spoke sparsely and when he did it was only to thank the beautiful crowd. In Japanese. Yes. Watch and lose yourself in the beauty that is Yorke and co. as they give one of their best performances of ‘Nude’.
10. V Festival, 2006
Here’s to another great version of ‘Creep‘. Things got a bit emotional at 4:09 when Thom starts tearing up.