But as usual with the British indie band, fans could never be sure what to expect as it kept up the tradition of switching up its song list last minute. Much like Bob Dylan, seldom, if ever, do they feel obligated to perform their most popular hits.
But with lead singer Thom Yorke and his band pulling it off with style and making the crowds roar on Wednesday, few at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park will have been too disappointed that 'Fake Plastic Trees', one its most famous and earliest hits, didn’t make it to the list.
By performing in Israel, Yorke—among the most politically active musicians in the world—was welcomed with arms open far wider than for other music artists who have performed in Israel, not only because of his legendary status in the business, but because of his decision to defy the pressure exerted by the BDS movement aimed at stopping the performance going ahead.
Despite the online slander campaigns against him, the accusations that he was supporting an “apartheid state,” despite the picketing outside concerts leading up to his Tel Aviv performance, despite BDS activists disrupting his recent Glasgow concert by waving Palestinian flags in the crowd—to which he held up his middle finger—Yorke’s decision to press ahead with his performance constituted yet another shunning of the boycott movement.
Blasting out, among others, their hit singles ‘No Surprises,’ ‘Nude’ and ‘Paranoid Android’ Yorke also turned to his guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who is married to an Israeli woman, as he reminisced about the band’s first concert in the country.
“In 1993 we came here. Somewhere called the Roxan. Didn’t we Johnny? I think we played this one,” he said before the 1993 hit ‘Creep’ reverberated throughout the ecstatic crowds.
But Greenwood also grabbed some of the limelight from Yorke, charming the electrified crowds as he thanked in Hebrew the band’s supporting Israeli artist, Dudu Tassa.
With that, the band closed the night with their second single from their third studio album OK Computer, ‘Karma Police.’