Amid heavy criticism and swirls of controversy, Radiohead finally took to the stage at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday night to end their tour.
The show marked their ninth time playing in the country but none that had come before had faced such criticism.
However, lead singer Thom Yorke, refusing to back down, led out Radiohead to play a 27-song set that became their longest performance in 11 years. “A lot of stuff has been said about this, but in the end, we played some music,” he reportedly said after the show.
The judgment came as a collection of the world’s leading artists have called on Radiohead to chancel their arranged show in Israel.
Thurston Moore, Ken Loach, Roger Waters, Maxine Peak and the Young Fathers are among the 46 musicians, artists, writers and actors to have signed the open letter in relation to Radiohead’s gig at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on July 19.
“It is a small sacrifice in respect to those who struggle in honourable opposition to state-sponsored fascism,” Thurston Moore said.
Pro-Palestine supporters continued to protest Radiohead’s performances, the most recent coming during their headline set at TRNSMT Festival in which Yorke can be heard repeating the phrase “some fucking people,” in frustration.
Having recently addressed the criticism of the planned performance, explaining how he has found the process of artists’ he respects telling the band what to do ‘upsetting’.
Yorke, in an interview with Rolling Stone, said: “I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting,” when the question was put to him.
“There are people I admire [who have been critical of the concert] like Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think,” he continued. “The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white. I have a problem with that. It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public. It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves. I thought it was patronising in the extreme. It’s offensive and I just can’t understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them].
“The university thing is more of a head fuck for me,” Yorke said. “It’s like, really? You can’t go talk to other people who want to learn stuff in another country? Really? The one place where you need to be free to express everything you possibly can. You want to tell these people you can’t do that? And you think that’s gonna help?”
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