Radiohead Take 'Amnesiac' On Tour

Many fans will see new material performed live for the first time

Thom Yorke performs at Pinkpop on June 4th, 2001 in Netherlands.
Peter Pakvis/Redferns/Getty
June 21, 2001

Tour Dates: June 18th-June 30th; later dates TBA
Opening Act: The Beta Band
Ticket Prices: $32.50-$40

Last October, Radiohead played just three North American concerts to mark the release of their enigmatic fourth album, Kid A. But those shows were a revelation, exposing rock & roll humanity coursing through the record's loops and Thom Yorke's alien vocals. Radiohead return to these shores thsi summer with a second batch of songs from the Kid A sessions, Amnesiac. The tour – a run through West Coast amphitheaters in June, followed by an August leg covering the East and Midwest – will be the first chance for many fans to see Radiohead perform the results of their three-year excursion into machine pop.

"In the past, what we'd done onstage was a Xerox copy of what's been on our records," says drummer Phil Selway. "But when we came out to play these new songs [last year], we found some new life in them."

"You couldn't do Kid A live and be true to the record," adds guitarist Ed O'Brien. "You would have to do it like an art installation. But we were playing for people who were hard-core fans, who expect something more. When we played live, we put the human element back into it."

Radiohead Return to America

Logistics prevent Radiohead from bringing the portable venue – a huge circus tent – that they played in on their European tour last year. And these summer shows constitute Radiohead's only major American visit behind Amnesiac, a drastic reduction from the two grueling years of roadwork they put in for 1997's OK Computer. "We're doing less, concentrating on making sure what touring we do is more enjoyable and better quality," says Selway. "Touring is a vital part of Radiohead, but you don't want it to be your life."

Joining Radiohead on the road is U.K. group the Beta Band, who will showcase material from their new album, Hot Shots II. "We never liked the idea of supporting people," says vocalist Steve Mason, "but I think playing with Radiohead is a really good opportunity for us. All these bands from Britain have been touted as this amazing new thing that was going to save rock & roll. But I think our band and Radiohead can justify, not the hype, but the excitement that's around us in America."

This story is from the June 21st, 2001 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
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
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

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »