Flashback: Radiohead Play an Explosive ‘Blow Out’ in 1994
Radiohead have delighted fans on their ongoing A Moon Shaped Pool tour by digging deep into the catalog to resurrect songs like “Planet Telex,” “Optimistic,” “Talk Show Host,” “Kid A,” “Like Spinning Plates” and even “Creep,” which they’ve played an astonishing 18 times after shelving it for seven years. The biggest surprise, however, came on July 6th in Chicago when they broke “Blow Out” which, outside of two back-to-back nights in Tokyo in 2008, hadn’t been touched in 21 years.
“Blow Out” is the final song from their 1993 debut Pablo Honey, and was used as an explosive final encore at many of their early concerts. Here’s a particularly intense version from the London Astoria taped May 27th, 1994. This was a period where many came to their show merely to hear “Creep” but, once they got there, moments like this turned skeptical fans into believers. Months later, they become a punchline in Clueless when “Fake Plastic Trees” came on the radio and Alicia Silverstone’s character called it “the maudlin music of the university station.” But those college kids bought a lot of copies of The Bends and paved the way for their breakthrough in 1997, once OK Computer hit.
The 1994 “Blow Out” performance (which you can watch here) was released as part of their Live at the Astoria DVD/VHS release of 1995. Amazingly enough, that’s the last time they’ve officially released a complete concert in any form. Their only live album is 2001’s I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings, but that was a mere eight songs taped at various shows on their 2001 summer tour. Last year, they re-released OK Computer as a deluxe package titled, OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017. It was crammed with outtakes, B sides and demos, but not a single moment taken from a concert. It’s a shame – since they’re one of the great live acts of all time, but fans are forced to turn to bootlegs to hear this stuff. Let’s just hope they’ve kept tapes all this time and, one day, they’ll start pushing them out to the fans, like Bruce Springsteen started doing a couple of years back. Live at the Astoria is a cool set, but that can’t sit forever as the sole representation of their live show.