Thursday, November 18, 2004

R.E.M. concert Nov. 15 - sold out

It was a fun show, but they left out about 2/3 of their hits, like most bands do, in favour of unfamiliar new tracks from the new album and some really obscure songs. R.E.M. clearly aren't a hit singles band. The audience seemed rather subdued during the performance of the lesser known tracks. I visited a website that showed more or less what songs they were playing on this tour, so I wasn't surprised by the set list, and the inclusion of those two unrecorded tracks that were in the encore ("Permanent Vacation" - not an Aerosmith cover and "I'm Gonna DJ"). A less confident band, and a band on their way out would play nothing but the hits, and wear the badge of being a nostalgia act. Bands like that end up playing in Winnipeg casinos or at the Red River Exhibition. R.E.M. are still a vital creative force who refuse to sell out and record nothing but radio-friendly fodder. They take chances and occasionally reward the fans with superb material that takes several listens to warm up to.

This was the approximate set list.
Finest Worksong
Begin The Begin
Wake Up Bomb
Boy In The Well
Orange Crush
High Speed Train
Imitation of Life
Leaving New York
Strange Currencies
Losing My Religion
The One I Love
Final Straw
Walk Unafraid
Life and How To Live It
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
So. Central Rain
Permanent Vacation
I'm Gonna DJ
Man on The Moon

Being a fan for about 20 years now, I was in my glory!! Michael Stipe, adorned like a racoon, acknowledged that he heard the show sold in 90 seconds (2300 tickets). Not quite right, but it was the fastest sell out for a show that size in recent memory, if not in Winnipeg history.

Michael Stipe, Monday, Nov. 15, Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

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