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April 17, 2014

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Radiohead in Las Vegas? Doesn’t look like it

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Sebastian Edge

Maybe in the next life. Radiohead hasn’t played Las Vegas since the mid-1990s.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s new two-weekend format has been hailed as a win for Las Vegas music fans who don’t feel like leaving town in April. With 100-plus bands sticking close to the West Coast for 10 straight days, Southern Nevada’s annual “Coachella spillover” should be in fuller effect than ever this year, right?

Alas, it appears the expanded opportunity won’t result in the one show for which many locals have been calling for years. U.K. rock band Radiohead has announced its plans for the days leading up to and between its Coachella headlining performances (April 13 and April 21), and the words “Las Vegas” are nowhere to be found.

Radiohead has scheduled shows in Seattle (April 9), San Jose (April 11), Santa Barbara (April 12) and two nights in Mexico City (April 17-18). The band had previously announced a March 15 concert in Glendale, Arizona, which is already sold out.

Not that we had much hope Thom Yorke & Co. would actually come to town. Radiohead has played Las Vegas exactly twice: an October 1993 appearance at the (then) Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, opening for Tears for Fears, and an October 1995 slot opening for Soul Asylum at the old Joint.

Of the latter, bassist Colin Greenwood wrote in Radiohead’s official W.A.S.T.E. newsletter at the time, “[Soul Asylum’s] Dave Pirner wanted us to come on stage and ‘jam’ after their set, but we’re not too well versed in the Rock Standards, so we had to decline, and everyone went to hit the gaming tables instead.” Apparently the band had such a great time it’s never been back—at least, not to perform.

(Strange side note: In 2006, Ticketmaster posted an on-sale notice for a March 1 Radiohead show ... at Bally’s Jubilee! Theater. Shockingly, that turned out to be bogus.)

So far, two Coachella acts have announced Las Vegas dates: The Shins (April 13) and Justice (April 19), both at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool. Radiohead or no Radiohead, we’ll be dreaming up plenty more from now until April.

Dr. Dre at Planet Hollywood? Pulp at the Pearl? Cat Power at Book & Stage? At the Drive-In out in the desert?

Hey, that last one almost sounds possible ...

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