The Show Must Go On

In the wake of last weekend’s tragic incident in Toronto, Radiohead posted an update on their website Dead Air Space earlier today:

Hello everyone,

As you will probably have heard the roof over the stage collapsed at our show in Toronto killing crew member Scott Johnson and injuring three other crew members. The collapse also destroyed the light show – this show was unique and will take many weeks to replace. The collapse also caused serious damage to our backline, some elements of which are decades old and therefore hard to replace.

Whilst we all are dealing with the grief and shock ensuing from this terrible accident there are also many practical considerations to deal with & consequently we have to try and reschedule the following shows:

30 Roma Hippodrome Capanelle

1 Firenze Parco delle Cascine
3 Bologna Arena Parco Nord
4 Codroipo Villa Manin
6 Berlin Wuhlheide
7 Berlin Wuhlheide
9 St Triphon Carriere des Andonces

We aim to announce the new dates for these shows on Wednesday 27th of June and will also supply information on how to obtain refunds on tickets if you cannot come to the show on the new date.

We will start playing live again at Les Arenes Nimes, Bilbao BBK festival and Lisbon Optimus Alive festival.

We will make every effort to offer the fans the very best show possible under the circumstances – thanks for your understanding and support.

Unlike most of the posts on Dead Air Space, this one was unsigned so it’s difficult to tell whether it was from the band or their management.  I would be shocked if a posting this important wasn’t endorsed by the band prior to going live.  Regardless, it does alleviate one of my fears – that Radiohead would stop touring indefinitely.

I suspect the band was conflicted about the decision, much like Pearl Jam after the Roskilde tragedy in 2000.  The purely emotional thing to do would have been to scuttle the rest of the tour.  But as today’s posting hints, ‘practical considerations’ dictate that the show must go on in some modified form.  Signing up for a tour means making obligations to venues and promoters around the world.  Road crews and caterers and management and lighting designers and myriad others all rely on touring acts to put food on their tables.

At the end of the day, Radiohead are a band that depend on touring to make a living.  Touring supports record sales, and a successful tour builds momentum for the next record in a tidy cycle.  It also just so happens that acts like Radiohead bring untold amounts of joy and beauty to the rest of us.  The world would not be the same place without talented musicians sharing their talents.  Not even close.

The next few months will be very difficult for them, but I’m very glad that Radiohead have decided to forge ahead.  It’s likely the best way to honour their fallen friends.


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