A history of Radiohead in Tampa, Part II: The 'Bends' Years
(In celebration of Radiohead's concert Feb. 29 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, we're revisiting some of the band's most memorable Tampa Bay moments over the past 20 years. Today, we touch on Logan Neill's stories about the band circa Sept. 9, 1995, when the group opened for R.E.M. at the ThunderDome in St. Petersburg.)
Yesterday we brought you a review of Radiohead's first concert in Tampa Bay, a 1993 gig at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg. Two years later, the band returned in a much bigger way -- opening for R.E.M. on Sept. 9, 1995, at the ThunderDome (now Tropicana Field) in St. Pete.
A crowd of 18,853 turned out for this killer double bill, though obviously, most of them were there for R.E.M. We covered Logan Neill's original concert review in our post about R.E.M.'s breakup, but it's worth repeating his lines about Radiohead here:
Opening act Radiohead gets credit for being one of the most energetic lead-ins in recent memory. Relying mainly on sturdy selections from their album, The Bends, the band cooked behind lead vocalist Thom Yorke, whose beer-soaked version of Creep made for memorable moments.
Short but sweet -- and they were still playing Creep! Interestingly, Logan interviewed Radiohead drummer Phil Selway for a profile a few days before this show. Here's a relevant excerpt:
Radiohead is a little shy on recognizable hits, except for its 1993 smash single Creep, which launched the band into the pop world with an unsettling slacker catchphrase ("I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo").
Fronted by Yorke, described as the hyperkinetic mouthpiece for the band's enigmatic moodiness, Radiohead explores the delicate folds of its pop fortunes with wariness, proclaiming to be the "antithesis of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle."
"We're not purposefully contradictory," Yorke said recently. "It just happens that we like to use our brains. If you consider what you're doing at all important, you'll pay more attention to it and not just get drunk 'round the pub until it's time to get onstage."
Ah, from the mouths of babes.