Radiohead Toronto

Radiohead pays tribute to stage collapse victim in Toronto

Radiohead took to the stage in Toronto last night for the first time since 2012, when the band's drum tech Scott Johnson was killed in a fatal stage collapse at Downsview Park.

Musically, the set was every bit as great as you would expect from the British rock band, but the the mood was decidedly heavy at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night as the shadow of 2012's fatal incident — and ensuing court battle — hung over what was an otherwise perfect show.

Frontman Thom Yorke addressed the elephant in the room during Radiohead's second encore at Thursday night's sold out concert, which was the first of two in Toronto this week (the other takes place tonight.)

"We wanted to do a show in Toronto, the stage collapsed, killing one of our colleagues and friends," he said, referring to 33-year-old technician Scott Johnson.

"The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city," he continued. "The silence is fucking deafening."

Yorke then asked the audience to observe a moment of silence in Johnson's name — though, as video footage shows, a whole bunch of jerks yelled at eachother to shut up the entire time.

"Okay, we're done," said Yorke at the end of the minute, immediately launching into the 1997 hit "Karma Police."

Earlier this week, members of the band spoke to reporters about what it would be like to play in Toronto again after six years, especially given that all 13 charges in their multi-trial stage collapse case against Live Nation were stayed.

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"It's very frustrating. The court case broke down on a technicality," said drummer Philip Selway on BBC Newsnight Wednesday. "There have been no real answers. Without the answers, we can't ensure that an accident like this can't happen again."

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For now, despite a year-long investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, the tragedy remains unresolved.

Lead photo by

James MacAuley


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