Adam 12

11am - 4pm

Released on May 21, 1997.

August 23, 1997: Radiohead headlines Harborlights in Boston. It’s a memorable show for a few reasons, and I was there.


Before we dive into the gig, however, let’s take a trip back to the summer of ’97. This is the end of the mid-’90s, half a decade past the grunge and alternative rock explosion of the early part of the decade. Chumbawamba‘s “Tubthumping” was arguably the song of the summer, which is fitting as the song was a blend of rock music and dance music, the two musical styles that were the most prevalent in the mid-to-late-’90s alt-rock sonic palate.


Also fitting is that Radiohead’s OK Computer, released in the spring of ’97, was one of the standout albums of that summer. When you break it down to its musical elements, the album can also be described as a blend of rock music and dance music…the two musical styles that were the most prevalent in the mid-to-late-’90s alt-rock sonic palate. Granted, that’s a bit of a simplification. OK Computer‘s “dance” elements weren’t the type to make you get up and move. They were electronic bleeps and bloops that helped get across the album’s main themes of angst and alienation. The album was highly anticipated, critically lauded, and extremely popular. 25 years on, I consistently rank it in my Top 3 of Radiohead albums.


Radiohead at Harborlights

I’ve noticed over the years that some of the best shows I’ve ever seen came courtesy of a band touring behind their second or third albums. Think about it: take one of your favorite bands and build a setlist out of your favorite songs from their first three albums. You’ll probably end up with something that comes pretty close to the real thing. This Radiohead show is a prime example. It’s an almost-even split of songs from OK Computer and 1995’s The Bends. I loved those two albums 25 years ago and still do today. They went light on Pablo Honey, but that’s OK. The setlist was fantastic, the vibe was right, and another favorite of mine–Teenage Fanclub–were the support act. Come to think of it, Dandy Warhols were on the bill as well.


Travel back with me to Harborlights in the summer of ’97.

  • Setlist

    Courtesy of

    Radiohead Setlist at Harborlights Pavilion, Boston

    Get the Radiohead Setlist of the concert at Harborlights Pavilion, Boston, MA, USA on August 23, 1997 from the OK Computer Tour and other Radiohead Setlists for free on!

  • Live in Belfort

    There’s no footage of the Harborlights gig on YouTube, but there are some pretty decent clips of Radiohead in France a month earlier.

  • Teenage Fanclub

    The Scots were touring behind Songs From Northern Britain, and “Start Again” was the album’s first single.

  • The Dandy Warhols

    The Dandys were a ball back in the day.