Friday, June 20, 2008

R.E.M. - KEW-ELL! ("cool")

I got this photo (of R.E.M. at their recent Toronto show) here. I've got to start bringing a camera to shows.

Anyway, I just got back from R.E.M.'s SOLD OUT concert at Madison Square Garden. As I mentioned the other day on the OutQ show on the radio, I've found it easy to ignore R.E.M. concerts in recent years. Concerts just cost so much, and I haven't been into the last three albums. But the idea of not seeing them perform the awesome songs from Accelerate was really bugging me, so I'm glad my good friend Ben got us tickets. I'm so glad I went.

It was probably the best R.E.M. show I've ever seen. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills seemed to actually be enjoying playing together -that may be a first since the Monster tour. In the past, I've felt that they've had sort of an attitude about playing older material. But this is the first time I've seen them where they had a new album that holds up to their legacy (actually, they may have felt that way on the Monster tour, since they'd never toured behind the Automatic For The People and Out Of Time albums). I wondered if they'd seen any U2 shows lately, or if they were influenced by opening for Bruce Springsteen on the Vote For Change tour. But they finally seemed OK with using the songs that get an arena to its feet and get 10,000 people singing along. But I really gotta stress that the new songs really held up to the old ones. I gotta give props to their drummer Bill Rieflin, formerly of Ministry, who is great, and brings some muscle to the songs. Multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughy is great as well - I think Peter likes having him, as they play in two or three other bands togther, obviously they have a bond.

Anyway, great show. Lots of highlights - I'm tired now, but off of the top of my head, "Disturbence At The Heron House," "Fall On Me," "Living Well Is The Best Revenge," "Man Sized Wreath," "Houston," "Horse To Water," "Bad Day," "The One I Love," "Supernatural Superserious," an acoustic "Let Me In," and "Don't Go Back To Rockville," featuring Mike Mills on lead vocals. If you're an R.E.M. fan who has blown off their concerts in recent years, I don't blame you. But catch them this time around, you'll be glad you did.

(Oh yeah, I didn't go in to see the openers The National and Modest Mouse. But Johnny Marr of The Smiths is now in Modest Mouse, and he joined R.E.M. on stage, which was cool).

No comments: