It was the performance that came to be remembered as their defining moment as a band, but Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke has revealed that he very nearly walked off stage during their headline slot at Glastonbury Festival twenty years ago.
The show, which took place a mere fortnight after the release of their masterpiece OK Computer in June 1997, was beset by technical hitches and production issues on the night, but Radiohead nevertheless delivered what is widely regarded to be the best Glasto performance ever, with most people present and watching at home on TV not noticing the problems.
During the encore of the set, Yorke even thanked the crowd for their patience because “all the speakers have been blowing up and stuff”.
Now, in a new interview with BBC 6 Music’s Matt Everitt marking the 20th anniversary of OK Computer, the singer revealed that he was seriously thinking about abandoning the performance altogether and just walking off stage.
“At one point I just went over to Ed [O'Brien, guitarist]. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'I'm off mate, see you later’,” he told Everitt. “He turned around and went, 'If you do, you'll probably live the rest of your life regretting it’. I went, 'Good point.'”
Radiohead headline Glastonbury for the third time in their career later this month, with OK Computer marking its 20th anniversary and the group’s newest record A Moon Shaped Pool a little over a year old.
Yorke also revealed that he had been against playing the 1997 set right from the start, because he was suffering from exhaustion.
“I'd burnt myself out,” he said. “We had a meeting about what we were going to do for the shows and I was like, 'I can't do Glastonbury'. I just needed a break. And in fact I didn't get one for another year and a bit, by which point I was pretty much catatonic.”
The full BBC 6 Music interview will be available via the station’s official site on Sunday (June 11th).