Even if you’re a band who performs expertly crafted songs that are specific in their structure, improvisation is still an important skill to have. Case in point: Radiohead recently performed their first show in Argentina in nine years, at Tecnópolis in Villa Martelli for Soundhearts Festival, and near the end of their main set, one of the crowd barriers broke. This put the show on halt as security staff addressed the issue, but instead of standing idly by, Thom Yorke decided to make the most of the downtime by busting out an a capella rendition of “The Gloaming,” from their 2003 album Hail To The Thief.
Stripped of its bass and glitchy electronics, Yorke’s vocals take on a different energy. In the album version, they contribute to the song’s rhythm, but without percussion to give it a sense of beat, they come across as more melodic. This type of moment can offer new insight into a song that fans thought they knew, but at the very least, it was a fun distraction for a delay that lasted nearly 20 minutes. The good news is that the disruption didn’t seem to cut into Radiohead’s set, as they still played nearly 30 songs, including three encores.
Watch Yorke’s performance of “The Gloaming” above.