R.E.M. to remember

I first saw R.E.M. in summer 1981, opening up for Gang of Four at the Ritz in NYC.  At that point I think they only had their first single out, and Mr. Stipe still had lots of bushy hair flying around.  Chronic Town EP came out the next year, and of course lots more over the years.  I liked their music, saw them a couple more times, but the records in the last 10 years or so have been disappointing mostly – not quite the same magic anymore.

So I was a little skeptical about last years double live CD, R.E.M. Live at the Olympia in Dublin, but saw some good reviews and figured I should check it out.  And it is well worth hearing for any long-time fan of the band.  In fact, I’d have to say that if I could only have one of their recordings, it would be this one.  The band played five nights in Dublin, testing out new songs for what became their Accelerate album, and playing lots of old ones.  They sound energized and tough, putting new life in songs going back all the way to that Chronic Town release – check it out.

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