Radiohead Kicks Off North American Tour In Chicago With Two Encores, Dusts Off ‘Pablo Honey’ Track: Recap

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the United Center on July 6, 2018 in Chicago.

“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me,” Nina Simone’s voice blared throughout Chicago’s United Center. “No fear.”

As the brief voiceover played, Radiohead settled on stage while frontman Thom Yorke took a pleased look around the sold-out arena, feeling right at home.

For the next two hours and 17 minutes (including the set’s double encore), Yorke embodied what it means to be fearless as he writhed about the stage with such intention that it made his 5’5” frame seem taller. Meanwhile, the five-piece band — consisting of drummer Phil Selway, bassist Colin Greenwood, guitarists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien and tour percussionist Clive Deamer — were the ringmasters of a sonic circus, each trading off tricks and collectively building a landscape of experimental sounds complete with looped maniacal laughter, courtesy of Yorke, and bowed guitar from Greenwood.

In late February, Radiohead announced it would embark on an 18-date North American headlining tour in July and August. On Friday (July 6), the tour kicked off with the first of two sold-out nights in Chicago. Without new music to promote, the main question on the minds of many was if the setlist would still be mostly filled with tracks from the band’s latest album, 2016’s A Moon Shaped…