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Sunday, May 25, 2008

RE: REM

posted by on May 25 at 14:37 PM

Fair enough, Mr. Frizzelle, fair enough.

A couple additional thoughts: I don’t give a shit about the critical consensus. I was 14 in ‘94, and I thought Monster was the shit. I liked REM’s older singles at the time, but for whatever reason, at 14, I didn’t see Monster as the abominable galm rock youth grab that everyone seems to agree it was. All of which is to say that, when the band launched into “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” as their second song, I was genuinely and unexpectedly pumped. It wasn’t the high point of their set, not hardly, but it sounded fucking awesome. Just before their set, as fairweather REM fans fled in the rain, that nothing was going to get between me and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” I had been half-joking; I totally didn’t think they’d play it, let alone as their second song.

Secondly, Stipe has a little bit of a Being John Malkovich thing going on, and it occurs to me that Stipe is an insanely actorly performer. At this point, after so many years, it’s like he’s playing Michael Stipe in REM. Every facial expression is practiced yet comfortable. When he dramatically takes off his shoes, hold them aloft, and then lets them drop, you think, “Well, yeah, of course.”

Two bits of banter: One, Stipe asks how many Canadians are here, how many Americans are here, how many people are voting for Obama, and then—such a long setup—says he wishes Canadians could vote. They can. In Canada. Also: Stipe is a Democrat?! Get the fuck out! Two, Stipe trains the whole crowd to shout, “I told you so!” “What happens if I fall down?” “I TOLD YOU SO!” Was that a dig at Banana Peel Buck or what?

RSS icon Comments

1

yeah i was the same age when monster came out and i loved it, too. i read somewhere it's the most common CD in used bins.

did they play tracks from new adventures in hi-fi? i bet they didn't. what an underrated album.

REM was my first favorite band after the beatles and boyz II men!

Posted by ndrwmtsn | May 26, 2008 7:47 PM
2

Of course Stipes is a Democrat. Have you ever met a gay Republican?

Posted by rk | May 26, 2008 7:49 PM

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