Here is what I remember about seeing R.E.M. live in 1987.
1) It was a school night and I was 16.
2) I couldn't drive yet so my Mom drove me and a girl friend(s?) into the city to see the show. Being the amazing Mom that she was, she killed time in the city (NYC) while we went to the show so we could pretend to be mature and cool AKA parent free at the rock show. I grew up in NJ about 40 minutes from NYC so this was hike that meant my Mom dedicated a whole evening to playing our chauffeur.
3) It took place at Radio City Music Hall
4) I liked R.E.M mostly because I had fallen in love with them that year via a documentary called Athens, GA : Inside/Out.
5. Mr. Stipe had many layers of clothing on and as they moved onto the next song, a shirt would come off to reveal yet another shirt. I thought he must have been remarkably skinny because for all those shirt, he didn't look layered and bulky.
6. It was a very long set and got antsy / worried that we would miss the three encores because it was getting late and we had a specific time my Mom was going to be picking us up. This was before cell phones so there wasn't a way to let her know the set was running late.
7. Michael Stipe danced unlike any other human I had ever scene. I was obsessed with Andy Warhol at the time and I remember thinking he was the first person I had ever seen in real life that was genuinely quirky to the point of alien. Ahh, the mind of a pseudo artsy Sophomore in high school.
8. We had rather good seats and were on the floor somewhere in the first 30 rows.
Here is what I don't recall about the show but the internet had told me about:
1) 10,000 Maniacs was the opening act. I not only don't recall that but I was pretty certain until tonight that I had never seen that band play live before. I was sure that REM had played with Echo and the Bunnymen that night but apparently that isn't the case and now I am left wondering who I saw Echo play with there. (Apparently that was in 1988) I saw many shows there, (Adam Ant, Echo, Replacements, Midnight Oil....to name a few) and apparently they are all starting to blur together. It also appears that I was never much of a fan of 10,000 Maniacs since this event has left zero impact on my memory.
2) I couldn't tell you what record they were touring for (Dead Letter Office / Document according to the internet) or what songs were played. It's pathetic. I look over that set list I found on a website and it means nothing to me. I mean I know the songs but I don't recall any special memories about that night in regards to any of those songs. Oooops.
3. I seriously can't recall if I ever saw R.E.M. again. I don't think I did but with my memory, who the hell knows.
4. I can't even be certain who I went to the with. Shame on me!
I know, this is probably the worst concert "review" ever but the real point at hand is that Cause and Effect tonight will be highlighting the influences, peers, and bands who have followed in R.E.M. footsteps. Only on WRIR, from 7PM to 9PM. You can listen to us on the dial at 97.3 FM in Richmond or stream us live at www.wrir.org. The set includes music by The Byrds, The Velvets, Big Star, Rain Parade, Leonard Cohen, The Soft Boys, The Feelies, Patti Smith, Pavement, Jawbreaker and more!