Radiohead is gearing up for their highly-anticipated return at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena. The iconic English rock band is slated to hit the stage for back-to-back shows tonight and tomorrow night. Tickets are still up for grabs, starting at $97 each.
Radiohead hasn't been back in Toronto since the fatal accident at Downsview Park in 2012. Hours before they were set to perform, a series of technical errors caused the stage to collapse, killing the band's 33-year-old drum technician, Scott Johnson.
It's been six years since Johnson's life was taken at Downsview Park, and Radiohead's drummer Philip Selway claims that, within those six years, nobody has turned up any definitive answers for what went wrong. He calls the mistake "inexcusable" and believes those same fatal errors could easily happen again.
According to CBC, a report by Ontario's Ministry of Labour cited "numerous issues with the design and execution of the structure" that led to the fatal accident. The construction of the stage did not follow the initial design, support equipment wasn't installed correctly, and many components of the stage's infrastructure were missing altogether.
Radiohead members and fans were devastated by Johnson's death. Charges were laid against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari, the parties implicated in the accident. To everyone's dismay, courts ultimately decided to stay the charges.
"We are appalled at the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari. This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew," the band tweeted in September, "It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again."
After everything that happened, fans are shocked that the band has decided to return to Toronto. "Truthfully, after the Downsview incident, I never expected another TO show," says one concert-goer.
But, some fans make a good point about Radiohead's unexpected decision - "Toronto has always been one of their favourite cities to play in. Also by coming back, they are able to bring more attention to the issue and Scott's memory."
Plus, Scotiabank Arena is Toronto's biggest and most well-equipped concert venue, reserved for big-name artists. "The [Scotiabank Arena] stage is a bit more professional and easy to rig up than the sketchy one Live Nation provided for Downsview," one fan points out.
Selway paid tribute to Johnson on Twitter earlier this week. "Remembering Scott Johnson today, our friend and colleague," wrote Selway, along with a picture of Johnson smiling on an empty stage.
Remembering Scott Johnson today, our friend and colleague. With love Px pic.twitter.com/INNZ7lHJte— Philip Selway (@philipselway) June 16, 2018
The band will surely pay tribute to Johnson on the Scotiabank stage as well.