Sunday, April 10, 2011
R.E.M.: April 5, 1989
I remember a few older songs in the set, like "So. Central Rain," and of course lots from Document and Green. This might have been the first time R.E.M. played arenas of such a large size, and there was really no connection with the crowd at all -- to be sure, it's a challenge in a huge venue, but it can be done. There was a screen behind the band with projections, and while I can't recall exactly what they said, I remember there was something toward the end of the show along the lines of, "You've been a lovely audience. Now it's time for you to go home." I'm sure it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it just came off as assholish. I mean, R.E.M. is not Mark E. Smith on the best (or is it worst?) of days. I grumbled about it for what seemed like an eternity, first to my parents, who seemed amused. My dad seemed to particularly relish the couple of times I came home furious at a band (the other time being the Sugarcubes, which you will read about here at some point).
Although I haven't enjoyed any of R.E.M.'s post-Green music, I still love their '80s output. I realized all was pretty much forgiven when I saw Mike Mills at SXSW one year and he gave my stomach butterflies.