Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Review in the Form of a Question

R.E.M. played Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. I was thinking about going to see them next week at Jones Beach Theater, except -- joke's on me -- they played Jones Beach last week. I'm kicking myself for missing them this time around. The only time I caught them was on the Monster tour, and the set lists left a lot to be desired. The current tour has featured several songs from the new album, and the brevity of those songs has left time for a lot of material from records like Reckoning and Life's Rich Pageant.

The Jones Beach show sounds like it was a memorable experience. As for the Garden show, one blogger shared the set list, complained about the people around him, and then asked this (pretty good) question:
Which kind of leads me to this: To have such a huge fanbase, even if it’s leftover from the mid-90s when they had hit albums Automatic for the People and Out of Time, is bizarre for a band as weird as R.E.M. I mean they are a really f***ing weird band: They are dorks. Weird dorks. Mike Mills is a dork, the kind of guy that the mook in front of me probably used to beat up in high school. Michael Stipe is gay — not usually a cheered-for-by-jocks demographic — and sings about summer camp and aluminum tasting like fear. I suppose Peter Buck is relatively normal. But how did this band ever get this big?
He's right that the band has a lot of fans that would have beat them up in high school. I guess it just goes to show that great music can bring people together.


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