Radiohead at the Outside Lands Music Festival 2016, by Daniel Kielman

By most objective measures, Radiohead is the biggest band in the world and has been for quite some time. In so many ways, that’s baffling.

The band has essentially one song that gets regular play on the radio (“Creep,” which is a great track — it is — but completely unrepresentative of the group now), and for the past 15 years, Thom Yorke and company have almost wholly dedicated themselves to making tetchy, avant-garde tunes that challenge their listeners in a way that Red Hot Chili Peppers or Foo Fighters could never dream of. They’re an arena rock band with absolutely no arena rock DNA.

The fans’ love for these guys is almost mystical — a reverence unmatched by any other contemporary group — and a result, whenever Radiohead come through town, the anticipation and buildup for their shows reaches hysteria-type levels. With that said, the Bay Area should prepare for some upcoming hysteria.

On April 17 and 18, the English quintet will play at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, a somewhat predictable announcement, given their participation in Coachella, but one that has nonetheless sounded the bells of Bay Area music lovers. Radiohead could easily command a larger stage — say, the Oracle Arena in Oakland — so their decision to play in the relatively-cozy confines of the Greek is a huge gift for those lucky to see them perform next month.

Tickets for the show go on sale today, and you can bet that there will be some very nervous people sitting in front of their computers that day. These shows are sure to sell out in a matter of minutes, so fans who aren’t online and clicking their refresh button at 10 am sharp, are going to be out of luck. I, for one, am already getting anxiety about the thought of missing out due to some unforeseen computer glitch.

Even though tickets for the show are steep — $95 is about as expensive as it gets at the Greek — any amount you pay to see Radiohead is a discount. These guys long dispelled the myth that their live acts would reflect their dim world view. The band’s songs are dystopian and bleak, but their performances on stage are fiery and filled with energy. The Greek will be ablaze in the strange, computer-blue illumination of Radiohead this spring, and everyone gathered will be lucky to bathe in that light.

The Greek Theater
April 17 + 18, 2017
6:30pm, $95