In case you missed it, Radiohead is playing Moda Center this spring. This is a big deal, not just because it's Radiohead—the Beatles of the 21st century according to the never-hyperbolic NME, and the 73rd greatest band of all-time according to Dave Matthews—but because the British art-rock troupe hasn't played Portland in over 20 years. The last time they came near town, it was 1998 at the Salem Armory, on the OK Computer Tour. By the release of 2000's legacy-solidifying Kid A, they'd forsaken the state of Oregon completely—until now. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 am.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, we dug through the archives of Willamette Week to find printed artifacts of their previous appearances. What we found…probably won't surprise you, actually. Turns out, we always thought they were good. They were really into the Church of Elvis, though.
July 8, 1993 at La Luna
That's right, the band you're about to pay $70 to watch from the nosebleeds of the Moda Center played La Luna—the club that now houses Japanese restaurant Biwa—for $2 its first time through town, back when "Creep" was such a big hit it seemed like they'd never transcend it. Shout out to Crash Vegas, too.
When you think of Radiohead these days, you think of "hooks, charm and balls," right?
Ah, old school major label schwag. You'd think they would've done something, like, Radiohead Radios…
March 25, 1996 at La Luna
When the band came back to La Luna, touring in support of The Bends, the awesomely-named Tim Casebeer spoke to bassist Colin Greenwood about their "adventurous" new album, Thom Yorke's voice, still being a "one-hit band" in the states, and this little tidbit about an apparently aborted Portland show earlier in the year:
Aug. 3, 1997 at The Big Stink at Estacada's Timber Bowl
Radiohead might be headlining Coachella this year, but 20 years ago, they were playing third fiddle to Candlebox and the Offspring at the most 1997 alt-rock radio show you could possibly put together. According to our review from the time, their set was the highlight of the day—somehow upstaging Smashmouth—and marked by a sundown rendition of "Paranoid Android." Also, at one point, Thom imitated Meredith Brooks, because 1997. Check out the setlist here, and our interview with Jonny Greenwood previewing the festival here.
Also, check out that top show Willamette Week co-sponsored. That'd still sell pretty well today, provided Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore could patch up their differences and we could afford an Elliott Smith hologram.
April 4, 1998 at Salem Armory
The last time Radiohead came within an hour of Portland, it was 1998 at the old Salem Armory. After that, Kid A dropped, the world unanimously declared them the Most Important Band in the Universe, and they'd never have to open for Candlebox again.
Nineteen years later, they're finally making their way back to Portland. Just don't tell them that the Church of Elvis no longer exists.