Radiohead will return to New Orleans for the first time in almost 14 years when they headline the Smoothie King Center on Monday, April 3.
Long considered one of the most groundbreaking groups in music, the English rock icons have generally skipped over New Orleans during their North American outings. The band’s only stops in the city have been a 1995 set at Tipitina’s and a 2003 appearance at the UNO Lakefront Arena that was part of their Hail to the Thief tour.
The modern rock pioneers have released three albums since that 2003 show, including 2007’s masterful In Rainbows and 2016’s stunning A Moon Shaped Pool. Last year saw the group embark on a world tour that almost exclusively brought them to festivals, with only a handful of performances in the United States at places like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits.
Considering all of this, the band’s New Orleans date comes as a surprise. The tour features no stops on the East Coast and avoids other large markets like Chicago and Houston, but fits in smaller places like New Orleans and Kansas City
Radiohead’s return is an exciting development for a local music calendar that’s already teeming with top-notch talent this April (French Quarter Fest, Hogs for the Cause and the early days of Jazz Fest have a way of doing that). If last year’s tour is any indication, the five-piece outfit will deliver an otherworldly set that draws heavily from A Moon Shaped Pool while also diving into classics and deep cuts from their diverse and influential catalog.
There’s no reason to assume Radiohead will invite any special guests on stage when they head to the Crescent City, but if the Red Hot Chili Peppers can pull off “Give It Away” with the Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville and George Porter Jr., I see no reason why Thom Yorke and Co. shouldn’t aim for something similar. Thom, if you’re reading this, may I kindly suggest “The National Anthem” with the Soul Rebels? Or perhaps “Life in a Glass House” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band? It’d be a bloody good show either way.
Radiohead plays the Smoothie King Center on April 3, at 7:30 p.m.