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(Credit: Alamy)


Remembering the time Thom Yorke saved a troubled fan during Radiohead concert


Following the tragic events of Travis Scott’s Astroworld event, a fatal crowd crush that occurred on the first night of the 2021 festival in which ten people died, a large discussion has been sparked around the importance of crowd safety during large-scale events. While the fallout and subsequent legal battle ensues in the aftermath of Astroworld, the role of the artist performing such major concerts has been thrust into the conversation, a debate that focuses on the importance of temporarily pausing the performance in a bid to restore calm.

Such tragedies at large events are, sadly, nothing new. Incompetence and disorganisation can often lead to fatal consequences, however, there have been a number of high-profile instances in which the performer has stopped in before tragedy strikes. While Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is fondly remembered for his actions to stop a sexual assault during one of his concerts, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke also followed suit in his best efforts to help a stricken fan during a live performance in 2003.

Yorke, who has made no secret of his concerns for fans attending Radiohead shows, spotted a medical emergency during a performance in Toronto and stopped the band performing in order to step in and help.

With the temperatures in some venues becoming unbearably hot, thousands of fans clambering forward in an attempt to be close to the front of the stage, and Radiohead having a tendency to play exceedingly long sets with two or three encores can, on occasion, result in uncomfortable environments. Yorke, ever alert to the audience, spotted an issue with a young man in the crowd and cut the music.

In the middle of a rendition of their song ‘Myxomatosis’ – a song taken from Radiohead’s sixth studio album Hail to the Thief – Yorke halted the performance after noticing a young man who had fainted close to the front of the stage. What ensued was the lead singer ordering security to remove the fan from the crowd and to call an ambulance. The fan can be seen limply removed over the shoulder of security.

The fan, who recovered quickly during the set, took part in a Reddit AMA to explain the incident: “I was dehydrated from standing in line to get into the pit at the concert. The pit was first-come-first-serve. I waited in line for about six hours,” he said.

Adding: “When we finally got in my buddy and I sparked joint. The concert started and we were hyped. What I didn’t realise was that the concert was a serious light show. I guess a combination of strobe lights, dehydration and being stoned led to my first pass out. The worst thing was when I awoke on a table at the side of the pit, Radiohead was playing ‘Paranoid Android’.”

He added: “This guy in a British accent asked me if I was alright. I replied, ‘I’m good’. I then see him run to the stage and tell Thom something. Thom soon followed with an announcement that the guy who passed out was fine and was back in the audience”.

See the footage of the incident, below.