R.E.M. unveiled several songs from its upcoming Warner Bros. album, “Around the Sun” in London last night (Sept. 15) at a secret gig in a London church. Staged and recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 2, the gig was held at St. James’ Church in Piccadilly, and featured a surprise guest appearance by Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
The show opened with “Animal,” from R.E.M.’s 2003 best-of “In Time,” but thereafter was dominated by material from “Around the Sun,” due Oct. 4 internationally and a day later in North America. After lead singer Michael Stipe quipped to journalists that he didn’t want to see any reviews of the event headlined “Losing Their Religion,” the band performed such new songs as “Wanderlust,” “I Wanted To Be Wrong,” “Final Straw” and the album’s title track
Yorke joined the band for a guest vocal on the 1996 hit “E-Bow the Letter,” while the encore featured new single “Leaving New York” and 1992’s “Man on the Moon.” The show will air Oct. 23 on Radio 2.
R.E.M. has confirmed the U.K. and Irish leg of its 2005 European tour, which will see them play six shows from Feb. 19-26, with other European shows preceding them from Jan. 7-Feb. 11. The band will also play outdoor U.K. shows next summer, including a massive July 9 Hyde Park date.