Watch Radiohead Fall Silent Onstage Over 2012 Roadie Death
When Radiohead played in Toronto last night for the first time since one of their road crew was killed there in 2012, singer Thom Yorke protested onstage at the lack of action over the tragedy and then led the crowd in a period of silence.
Scott Johnson died when the band’s open-air stage collapsed in the city’s Downsview Park. Legal action was commenced by the Ontatrio Ministry of Labour against two organizations – Live Nation and Optex Staging & Services – and stage designer Dominic Cugliari, but the trial was halted when the officiating judge was promoted and no longer had jurisdiction.
When the proceeding was recommenced, defending lawyers called for the case to be dropped, citing Canadian rules about unreasonable delays. The new judge agreed, and the charges were indefinitely postponed last year. As a result, there has been no clear explanation for Johnson’s death.
At the end of their first of two Toronto shows, Yorke – who had said very little during the performance – suddenly gestured for the audience to fall silent, which they did. Almost immediately he began speaking. “Six years ago, we wanted to do a show in Toronto," he said. "The stage collapsed, killing our colleague and friend. The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city. The silence is fucking deafening.”
He then stood in silence, with his bandmates doing the same, until the crowd settled into their own near-silence, except for a few stray shouts. “Thank you for that,” Yorke said afterward, before leading the band into the next song, “Karma Police.”
You can watch the moment below.
Last year, drummer Philip Selway revealed he would have died in the accident if the band had been on schedule. "When the collapse happened, it happened at 4 in the afternoon," he said. "Our soundcheck was due to start at 4, and I actually should have been where Scott was. That is an incredible weight, and personally I can’t let this lie. I want to see a proper conclusion, something that is respectful to Scott.”