How do you cope when you love Radiohead and live hundreds of miles away from the nearest stop on the band’s current summer tour? If you’re like me, you have been scouring YouTube for the latest concert videos and downloading secretly recorded audience tapes, though this has only intensified my overwhelming FOMO. As the tour’s rapturous reviews keep reiterating, Radiohead is absolutely killing it right now, reclaiming the majestic guitar jams that for years the band set aside in pursuit of more experimental tangents. In the process, Radiohead has embraced its destiny as one of the great arena-rock bands of all time.
As a long-time Radiohead fan, this is both a cause for celebration and — if you’re missing out — the source of profound anxiety. Each high point feels like a taunting jab. Why didn’t I just suck it up and drive six hours to Chicago? Wait, they played “Blow Out”?? [Looks up flights to Detroit.]
It’s worth noting that Radiohead’s latest peak as a transcendent live act comes 25 years after the band’s first North American tour, when the success of “Creep” made them a surprisingly popular stateside band. A year before Oasis and Blur ushered in American interest in Britpop, Radiohead was the rare British rock group to infiltrate the U.S. pop market, all due to a song that they would eventually resent having to play live. (Though, even on that contentious count, Radiohead has mellowed over the years.)