R.E.M. Live

27 years into their career and R.E.M. have finally released their first ever live CD/DVD. Recorded at Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland on February, 27, 2005, R.E.M. Live is a 22-track audio and visual documentary of the band doing what they rarely don’t get enough credit for – playing live. 

The DVD is your typical concert footage, multiple cameras, shots of excited hand clapping fans, all edited to capture R.E.M. at all the right angles. However the camera switching is a bit too much at times, not allowing the viewer to focus on one band member’s musicianship for longer than a couple seconds.

The free-spirited Michael Stipe, face painted bandit style, passionately commands the Irish stage and shows why he’s one of the most enigmatic front-men in rock, whose voice still easily hits all the signature R.E.M. vocal notes. Peter Buck consistently lays the groundwork with his jangly guitar work while Mike Mills provides the reliable bass and backup vocals. An all-star touring band that features Bill Rieflin (drums) and Buck’s buddys Scott McCaughey (guitar, vocals) and Ken Stringfellow (keyboards) keeps the old songs fresh and the newer ones modern.

Although Live was filmed during R.E.M.’s tour in support of 2004’s so-so received Around the Sun, Live features six cuts off that release, as well as the jolly “Imitation of Life (Reveal)” and “Walk Afraid (Up).”  Leaving out many of their 80’s classics, Live features stellar versions of “Orange Crush,” “The One I Love,” and “Don’t Go Back to Rockville,"  making a fan wish for more classics.  Highlights from their 90’s output include Automatic for the People hits – “Everybody Hurts,” “Drive” and “Man on the Moon.”  U2’s Bono once called Automatic the greatest country record never made, and these versions surely live up to the tribute.

R.E.M. Live isn’t going to turn their naysayers to the R.E.M. sound, but it proves a better late that never live package, or at least a well needed hold-me over until their next studio release due in early 2008.

Track Listing

01.  I Took Your Name
02. So Fast, So Numb
03. Boy In The Well
04. Cuyahoga
05. Everybody Hurts
06. Electron Blue
07. Bad Day
08. The Ascent Of Man
09. The Great Beyond
10. Leaving New York
11. Orange Crush
12. I Wanted To Be Wrong
13. Final Straw
14. Imitation Of Life
15. The One I Love
16. Walk Unafraid
17. Losing My Religion
18. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
19. Drive
20. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
21. I’m Gonna DJ
22. Man On The Moon

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