Madison Square Garden, the famed New York City performance venue, hosted its first post-pandemic concert Tuesday, June 22, 2021. The Foo Fighters were the band slated for the historic moment. But the special guest was none other than comedian Dave Chappelle. Chappelle and the Foo Fighters combined to perform Radiohead’s “Creep.” Fans of both Chappelle and the Foo Fighters took to the Internet, namely Twitter, to express their support, disdain, or confusion.
Dave Chappelle and The Foo Fighters: an unlikely pairing?
Unfortunately, some audiences were not aware of The Foo Fighters’ scheduled show, but that is another matter entirely. What is perhaps more interesting is the combination of the band and the comedian. Some people have pointed out that a connection was made between the two when they were on “Saturday Night Live” at the same time. Chappelle hosted and The Foo Fighters were musical guests.
What is less clear is why the temporary supergroup performed Radiohead’s “Creep.” Not that an actual explanation is necessary, but the song choice is one more random thing in an evening that included a comedian on lead vocals.
“Creep”: the appeal of an alternative classic
Radiohead’s 1992 hit, “Creep” has been a hit with fans of the British group since its release. The song continued to grow in popularity as nostalgia for the 1990s increased, and arguably, more people began to appreciate the song. In addition, the song is included in the regular rotation of many karaoke shows.
The song’s appeal might be found in audience’s appreciation for the lyrics’ candor. “I’m a creep/I’m a weirdo/what the hell am I doing here” – – the words can fit so many situations, from bad dates, to family reunions, to karaoke bars.
In addition, the lines that show the narrator speaking to a love interest, “you’re so f– special/I wish I was special” expresses a kind of angst that does not require listeners to belong to a certain generation.
Every line of the song has its own universal appeal. That coupled with aggrieved guitar riffs and singer Thom Yorke’s vocal acrobatics, give the song an edge that makes it sound like nothing else.
Thus, when Chappelle sang “Creep,” it was not an instance of a comedian switching mediums. It was more an example of people united through song. Audience participation was required. Chappelle half-speaks the lyrics and places emphasis in places that make the performance seem self-effacing.
The exchanges between Chappelle and the band show a clear respect for each other. That relationship is clear to see whether a person attended the show live, or he or she watched the video.
What the performance between Chappelle and The Foo Fighters makes clear is that as cliched as it is, music unites people. The show pointed out the universal popularity of “Creep,” as well as the disparate groups of people who performed the song. Not a bad moment for the first post-pandemic concert.