Relive Radiohead’s deeply intense appearance on Saturday Night Live, 2000
Radiohead don’t make many TV appearances. Something about television and the Oxford band just doesn’t seem to mix, principally, one would imagine, because the band see the media channel as a little base.
However, that doesn’t stop the band providing show-stopping performances when they do appear on them. Their appearance on SNL in 2000 saw Radiohead deliver a captivating performance of their Kid A track ‘Idioteque’, complete with convulsing Thom Yorke singing.
The track, which signified a major change in direction for the band who moved away from guitar-driven material, was forged by Jonny Greenwood when he put down the rhythm while experimenting on a modular synthesiser. After drawing inspiration from a computer music piece by the American composer Paul Lansky, Greenwood and Radiohead were fully on their new path.
After managing to record 50 minutes of material, Greenwood sent the work over to a somewhat bemused Thom Yorke who was tasked with cutting it down into a coherent song. “Some of it was just ‘what?’,” Yorke once commented. “But then there was this section of about 40 seconds long in the middle of it that was absolute genius, and I just cut that up.”
In the same year of its release, the band were booked to appear on SNL where they performed ‘The National Anthem’ and ‘Idioteque’. Their work was so intense that a lot of the audience at home were worried Yorke may actually be having a medical seizure.
Instead, Yorke snaps himself out of it returns for a final emphatic chorus and leaves the stage after smashing his microphone to the floor.