Last week, Turner discussed why bands should play their hits at concerts. Radiohead infamously refuses to play Creep at most of their shows. Turner told Gigwise, "You are entertainers because you've charged people £40 to be here, and it's not going to kill you to take three minutes out of your setlist to play the one song that everyone wants to hear."
On his blog, Turner explains and clarifies his point.
First, he mentions a term many of his friends have for Radiohead fans. "Indie Beliebers."
Then, he addresses that his point was "lazily put." He also says that he is a fan of Radiohead's (and Creep is nowhere near his favorite song). Turner adds that bands can play whatever they want to play.
But, they're entertainers.
"The point I was trying to make, however, is that bands are not just artists. When you’re playing a live show and charging money for people to come, you’re also an entertainer, whether you like it or not. You can handle that role any number of different ways – you can just play 'the hits', or you can play none of them; you can talk to the audience, or not; you can play for four hours (Springsteen) or roll around in glass and shit (GG Allin). It’s your stage.
My frustration is with bands who see that description, 'entertainer', as some kind of slight. In some cases it’s almost like the audience is an imposition on their sacred creative act. If that’s how you feel, don’t play shows and charge people to come to them, stick to the studio. Perhaps a better example than Radiohead and 'Creep' (if I’d taken the time to think before I speak, imagine that!) is Bob Dylan. When I saw him play it was just shit, and he was pretty openly trying to piss the audience off – shit setlist, played piano throughout, sang terribly and changed all the melody. Well, fine, but I won’t be coming back again, not at £60 a ticket.
I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a middle way between being slavishly populist in your set list choices, and only playing weird obscure B-sides. Dropping a song that everyone in the room wants to hear every now and again isn’t 'selling out' or whatever, it’s entertaining, and that’s at least part of the job description."