GLASTONBURY, England (Reuters) – Britain’s Radiohead returned to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage on Friday, 20 years after a legendary performance at the festival, with a set that mocked Prime Minister Theresa May‘s election campaign and pulled songs from nearly all of their albums.
The band from Oxfordshire, England, first headlined in 1997, one of the wettest years in the festival’s history, when they lifted a sodden crowd with music from their album OK Computer.
Featuring songs about alienation, capitalism and modern technology, the band’s third album sounds oddly prescient in a politically divided and anxious Britain in 2017.
Fans expected OK Computer to feature heavily in the set on Friday, the same day a version of the album was re-released, including tracks that did not make the cut 20 years ago, called OKNOTOK 1997 2017.
The band opened with “Daydreaming” from last year’s “A Moon Shaped Pool”, followed by “Lucky”, the first of a host of OK Computer tracks that included “Exit Music (For a Film)”, “Let Down”, “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police”.
Singer Thom Yorke changed the lyric at the end of the song “Myxomatosis” to “strong and stable”, apparently mocking a slogan that May repeated many times in her campaign.
“See you later Theresa; Shut the door on the way out,” Yorke said, in one of his few addresses to the crowd.
May has yet to form a stable government in Britain, more than two weeks after an inconclusive national election.
Radiohead’s two-hour show went down well with fans, but left some newcomers underwhelmed, evidenced by a steady stream of people heading off to other stages.
Tom Martin, a 30-year old from Cork, Ireland, was not disappointed by a band he had long followed. “It was the best gig I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Earlier in the day, English duo Royal Blood drew a huge Pyramid Stage crowd for a masterclass in straight, hard rock as their second album “How Did We Get So Dark?” went straight to the top of the charts.
Lead singer and guitarist Mike Kerr, who formed the band with drummer Ben Thatcher in 2013, said playing the main stage at the world’s biggest greenfield festival was “life-changing, terrifying and ridiculous”.
The festival started with a minute of silence on Friday morning in memory of recent terror attacks and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire before Hacienda Classical eased revelers into the first day of music.
Peter Hook, the bass player from Manchester bands Joy Division and New Order, led the crowd in reflecting on “our hopes and our prayers for life, love and freedom, the things we are here to celebrate”.
Other performers on the main stage at Worthy Farm in south-west England, included 81-year-old Kris Kristofferson and English indie band the xx.
By Paul Sandle