Radiohead Do No Wrong in Illinois

The Brits bring masterful, light-show-aided performance to Rosemont Theatre

Radiohead attend the New York premier of 'Kundun' on December 11th, 1997.
May 28, 1998

Rosemont Theatre
Rosemont, Illinois
April 10th, 1998

Thom Yorke, a choirboyish bundle of charisma in baggy trousers, is still apologizing for something his band did five years ago. In a ninety-minute set, Radiohead avoided playing "Creep," the song from their 1993 debut, Pablo Honey, that broke the band in the U.S. but also caused some to write them off as grunge wanna-be's. "We didn't know what we were doing. . . . It's called learning," Yorke said by way of introducing another Pablo tune, the jingle-jangling "Lurgee."

But apologies were hardly necessary on a night when, as far as the crowd was concerned, Radiohead could do no wrong. Indeed, it was difficult to find fault with a set split just about evenly between OK Computer and its 1995 predecessor, The Bends. Unlike previous, relatively stripped-down stateside tours, this show featured the band's spectacular, Wembley-worthy light show, visions of "Pink Floyd Live in Pompeii" erupting during the assaultive "Climbing Up the Walls."

Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Radiohead Songs

Jonny Greenwood tinkered in the shadows with foot pedals, keyboards, mallets, guitars and knobs, apparently intent on creating a new sound for each verse, while drummer Phil Selway and bassist Colin Greenwood adroitly navigated the twisting arrangements of the four-part "Paranoid Android." The band's secret weapon was guitarist Ed O'Brien, whose harmony vocals deepened the sense of anxiety and yearning in Yorke's lyrics.

Radiohead kept extracting moments of knee-buckling beauty from pummeling violence. With eyes shut and head wobbling as though enduring an unforgiving roller-coaster ride, Yorke sang his melancholic arias while the music washed over him. "Pull me out of the air crash/Pull me out of the lake," he pleaded on "Lucky," and hundreds of arms shot upward from the audience, as though ready to plunge after him.

This story is from the May 28th, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »