Posted 25 August 2008 - 03:48 PM
This was a great gig - better than Cardiff last time (agree about the venue change making it better) and better than the Albert Hall gig. Although anything bar the promoter putting a CD on and running out of the hall really fast would be better than the Albert Hall gig. The setlist was a great one, and even the standards were given slight twists.
Mills with his sleeveless shirt, looking like the dirtiest sleaziest southerner ever.
Until you looked to the right and saw Scott McCaughey with his HAIR and BEARD and SUCH.
Bill Rieflin looks like professional wrestler Ric Flair.
Demon possession during LIVING WELL.
PILGRIMAGE. First time in Europe ever, apparently.
DRIVER 8 with HARMONICA~!
EXHUMING MCCARTHY - complete with dictaphone recording of the Army/McCarthy hearings line. 'Have you no decency, sir?'. At this point, I was erect. Apologies to the girl in front of me, who may have been inadvertantly prodded.
SWEETNESS FOLLOWS got a surprisingly big pop for the opening chords - but then I realised it's from Automatic, so it'd get recognition from casuals. Nevertheless: great.
LET ME IN - done acoustically with the band gathered at one end of the stage, with Stipe's back to the audience, thereby kickin' it old school with the shy behaviour with the shy behaviour with the shy behaviour.
Peter Buck's solo on COUNTRY FEEDBACK. Not quite That Solo From The DVD, but great nonetheless.
The HERON HOUSE explanation. Little tidbits like that are cool.
Old Stipe describing Young Stipe as a 'pretentious little fuck'.
'Are you sure you want to be a singer? Do you realise what that entails?' That whole exchange was riddled with win.
NEW TEST LEPER. I know it's beloved by Michael, and I know people love it, but I don't. I hate it. I want it thrown off a cliff during the most violent thunderstorm the world has ever seen. I gave it a chance, because some songs are vastly improved live (FINAL STRAW has this sense of urgency live completely missing from the studio edition) and I was expecting an epiphany of some kind, but then it just went on and on and on and on and on until I wanted to open my wrists and spurt blood all over the people in front of me.
That's actually it, unless you want to count my constant gig bugbear, as in the routine of encores. Everyone knows you're going to return, so why bother? It's just gig convention, and it annoys me. It's the part of any gig that seems routine - fans know what's going on, the band know what's going on, and it's annoying to me, never mind R.E.M. who should probably be able to eschew that sort of thing. When I go to a gig I don't like feeling that the band are just going through the motions - even if they are, and on a long tour during nightly songs that's fair enough, but as accomplished performers they should be able to fool me. Encores are the very definition of going through the motions. But that's not an R.E.M. moan, it's a general gig moan.
Oh, and tapey guy - you are a great man.