Radiohead Launches World Tour in Miami Amid Backlash Over Scheduled Tel Aviv Show

Radiohead last performed at the American Airlines Arena in 2012.
Radiohead last performed at the American Airlines Arena in 2012. Photo by Sayre Berman
English rock band Radiohead is scheduled to kick off its A Moon Shaped Pool world tour tonight at the American Airlines Arena. The band plans to hit nine venues throughout the United States leading up to a headline performance April 14 at Coachella in California. The tour will continue in Europe through July.

Some artists and fans have attacked Radiohead for its plans to play a gig in Israel this summer, even as many are boycotting the Tel Aviv venue to protest that country's occupation of Palestinian land. The appearance would mark only the fourth time Radiohead has performed in Israel in the past three decades. It would be the first time since 2000. Radiohead does have a connection to the area. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood is married to the Israeli artist Sharona Katan. The two recently released Junoon, a collaborative album with Israeli composer/singer Shye Ben Tzur.

“Radiohead have always been a politically active band, and Thom Yorke has campaigned on human rights issues for years, so many fans are shocked that they have chosen to break the boycott," Radiohead fan Seamus O’Brolchain recently said via a news release. "The Tel Aviv concert venue is built on the site of a Palestinian village which was wiped off the map in 1948, so they will literally be dancing on Palestinian graves. We hope they will change their minds.”

Gloria Stay, a member of the campaign group Radiohead Fans for Palestine (RF4P), also spoke about the issue through a statement released by the group: “Radiohead has a track record of listening to their fans, and we hope they will pay attention to our calls. They should respect the Palestinian call for a boycott and be on the right side of history.”

New Times has requested comment from the band's representatives. We will add it to the story when it is provided.

RF4P contends that popular artists appearing in Israel will only help the state improve its image, thus distracting from its intolerable oppression of Palestinians. The group also warns that if Radiohead persists in its scheduling of the Tel Aviv show, the band should expect vocal public appeals during the tour, beginning with tonight's show in Miami.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; Tickets are sold-out.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.

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