Well, I just got back from seeing R.E.M. for the first time since 1995. The biggest difference this time around was how much Michael moved about on the stage, he was a statue last time around, but I think that had to do with surgery he had for a hernia.
Spacehog opened the show, they were pretty good. It had been raining all day in Philadelphia, but I had seats center stage, twenty rows back, so I didn't care who got we and who didn't! Lotus kicked things off and the stage was amazing, no one knew where to look first. The energy carried over big time into What's The Frequency, Kenneth?- the crowd was going crazy. They did "So Fast, So Numb" next, it was great- then Michael introduced the next song as being from the year 1243 (or something like that), and they launched into "Pilgrimage", it was amazing. I've never heard a song from so far back, I was in middle school when that song came out!
The band covered a lot of "Up", changing the tempo of a lot of the songs. "The Apologist" was a highlight, as was "Walk Unafraid". Michael dedicated "Sweetness Follows", even though he said he hates to dedicate songs, it was great. They also did the "Man on the Moon" as well as a new song "The Great Beyond" from the upcoming soundtrack from the movie "Man On the Moon". It was pretty good. "Country Feedback", "Half A World Away", and "Losing My Religion" were very well done, especially "Country Feedback". They stayed away from the Green album, and i was disappointed in that, I was hoping to hear "Turn You Inside Out", but to no avail. They did "Finest Worksong" though, it was great, and an intense version of "The One I Love".
After reading the previous set lists, I was bummed not to have heard "Fall On Me" or "Wolves, Lower". The encore was the usual from previous tours, it was nice to have finally heard "Cuyahoga" live, "Life's Rich Pagaent" is one of my favorite albums. "It's The End Of the World" closed the show, and the "E" Center went nuts. Hearing R.E.M. songs from "Automatic For The People" and previous cd's makes me think of great times in college and high school, and they did not disappoint tonight. It was a great show, I hope they tour again soon. Matt
By Nathan Silcox
Wow! That pretty much sums it up. We rushed to our 7th row seats once the intro of Airportman began. Michael, Peter, Mike and Company kicked into high gear with a rousing rendition of Lotus. And then they hit us even harder with Kenneth. I got what I came for when the boys played So Fast, So Numb--outstanding. Unfortunately, the crowd really didn't seem to be into the concert experience. I just don't understand how people could be in the front row section and not move their bodies one inch during the course of an entire show. Oh well, my group of friends had a great time anyways.
Like I said, So Fast, So Numb was what I came for, but then we were treated to Pilgramage. Just incredible. Suspicion and Daysleeper sounded like Suspicion and Daysleeper. Crush with Eyeliner kicked things back into high gear. Nice. You can't say "I'm Sorry" too many times with the Apologist. Great tune. And it was nice to turn back the clock to Half a World Away. I was very surprised at how much Sweetness Follows rocked--very cool. The Great Beyond was good too. I can't wait for the Man on the Moon soundtrack to be released.
Next was The One I Love, the song that introduced me to R.E.M. Country Feedback was incredible. I certainly understand why its Michael's favorite song. I enjoyed singing At My Most Beautiful into my girlfriend's ear. Then back to the rock with Finest Worksong, Losing My Religion, and Man on the Moon. Walk Unafraid was OK.
Time for the encore. It was cool to see Michael come out and play Hope solo. It was quirky, but cool. Then a duet of Michael and Mike playing Why Not Smile acoustic. Wake Up Bomb was OK. Tongue was Tongue (never did like that song). Cuyahoga was outstanding as well as the grand finale ITEOTWAWKIAIFF, which seemed to go on forever. The night was made complete when Microwave, road manager gave my friend and I a setlist. Very cool.
Overall, the concert kicked ass. It certainly beat out the only other R.E.M. concert attended Hershey, PA (1995), which was kind of lame. I can't wait for R.E.M. in the new millenium.
Back to the 1999 concert setlists