Today at 4 p.m., Radiohead will perform a "surprise" concert for the Occupy Wall Street protestors at New York's Zuccotti Park, numerous outlets (including the Occupy Wall Street site) are reporting. A big musical guest was rumored to join the demonstration later today, and soon word began to spread that Radiohead would come down to the Wall Street area to lift the spirits of those protesters that descended on the Financial District nearly two weeks ago. Celebrities like Lupe Fiasco and Susan Sarandon have stopped by Zuccotti Park to aid in the protests, but Radiohead would deliver even more attention to the cause.
However, Radiohead's PR firm is denying that the group will perform at the demonstration, telling Gothamist that rumors of the band's participation are "officially not true." Still, a spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street is insisting to reporters that Radiohead is "confirmed" to perform at 4 p.m. Either way, The Amp will head down to Zuccutti Park and report back later.
At the first of Radiohead's two Roseland shows, Yorke referenced the documentary Inside Job, the Oscar-winning film about big businesses' role in the 2007 financial crisis. "Did you see the film Inside Job? They're still here. Still working a few blocks from here," Yorke quipped before the group played "Bodysnatchers." Many songs in the band's catalog confront the greedy corporate culture and government's blind eye toward the problem: "Dollars and Cents," "You and Whose Army?," "2+2=5," "No Surprises," and the new track "The Daily Mail" all encourage political activism.
Sure, Radiohead are millionaires and essentially biting the hand that ultimately feeds them, but it's safe to assume they didn't cause the recession with their "pay-what-you-want" scheme for In Rainbows. (Though In Rainbows and the recession both arrived in October 2007, so who knows.) In the past, the band has performed small shows for non-profit groups that lobbied for environmental change, another subject extremely close to Radiohead. In January 2010, Radiohead played a surprise show at Los Angeles' Music Box to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Their gig today at the Occupy Wall Street won't be to raise funds; instead, the impending mob scene of thousands of fans that will undoubtedly descend on Zuccotti Park will serve as reinforcements for the protestors, and it'll present Wall Street with a crowd they simply can not ignore... if the performance happens. Stay tuned.
- Thom Yorke