Monday, June 23, 2008

R.E.M. Redux

Walnut Creek

It's been a long time since I've been on an R.E.M. high like this one. I suppose the last one peaked in my High School years, when Out of Time was released and "Losing My Religion" was all over MTV and the airwaves. That was back when the Public Library still lent LP Records... and subsequent cassette tape copies of Life's Rich Pageant, Document and Fables of the Reconstruction road shotgun in my first car.

In the days since R.E.M.'s latest tour brought them through the city of Raleigh, I've been on another binge. Each commute to work and home again has been peppered by the old songs, as well as some of the new.

I realize that I'm over a week late in posting any thoughts on this show, but this is more or less written for my own benefit, as well as any others whose memory will likely fail them when trying to recall little nuances of the show.

The one-time quartet of original members is now a trio with a couple of other musicians on stage, when on the road. Stipe performed in a bona fide suit, that was without a doubt very uncomfortable, as we were in a heat wave down in NC, with temperatures in the high 90's and even 100's. I didn't envy his attire in the least. But heat or not, Stipe put on a showman's show, and held nothing back. He even came off stage and into the crowd (although there was a barricade in place on the crowd level) nearing the close of the night.

The band treated us to several chestnuts during the course of the evening. Most notable to me were: "1,00o,000", "7 Chinese Brothers" and "Sitting Still". (I still don't know exactly what Stipe is singing on this one. I still get it wrong to this day singing: "Silly try for the big hill... wasting time, sitting still.") Good old Murmur. There's never been a more aptly titled R.E.M. album. Another highlight was a sweet rendition of "Let Me In" that was performed around a single mic, with Mike Mills at the piano. (I think this was the song, please correct me if I'm wrong on that.) And of course... seeing my long-time guitar idol Johnny Marr join them on-stage for my all time favorite R.E.M. song: "Fall on Me" was a moment I won't soon forget.

R.E.M. has such an extensive catalogue, that every time I've seen them (this was the 4th time around) I've been left wanting more. Be that as it may, they delivered the goods, and then some.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.

Living Well's The Best Revenge
Bad Day
Whats the Frequency, Kenneth?
Man-Sized Wreath
Welcome To The Occupation
7 Chinese Brothers
Hollow Man
Imitation of Life
Walk Unafraid
The One I Love
Final Straw
Find The River
Let Me In
Horse To Water
Auctioneer (Another Engine)
Orange Crush
I'm Gonna DJ

Supernatural Superserious
Losing My Religion
Pretty Persuasion
Fall On Me (w/Johnny Marr)
Sitting Still (w/Mitch Easter and Don Dixon)
Man On The Moon

[More info on the Raleigh show]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post. It's really great to see the band back in form. I was at the Raleigh show, too, and I need to remind you that they opened with 'Harborcoat.'