Friday, October 20, 2017

Festivals Remind Me Of How Short I Am: I Kind Of Saw REM

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Posted by admin On March - 13 - 2008

Continuing coverage of SXSW from Festival Crashers’ contributing writer Jennie Ellman…

I must say, Andy and Zack were right on the money with what they said about Michael Stipe. I don’t know if I would put him in my top three front-men, but I will say that he was mesmerizing and just plain cool. Not trying to be any conceptualized image like the other two bands before him.

Decked out in a hat, coat, gloves and scarf (while everyone else is in flip flops and a sweatshirt, or at least I was), Stipe enters the stage and exclaims “Children of South By Southwest! Come to me!”. Stipe owns the front-man position with ease as if he is just singing to himself in the mirror and not in the most anticipated event of the night where 80% of the audience is probably in the music industry.

The songs rocked hard and in the best way possible. Stipe just knows how to handle them too. With the hypnotizing drums and bass on “Drive” he would wave his hands to “Tick, tock” with only two fingers in the air controlling not only the music but the visuals.

After about three songs Stipe exclaims “Well, this is our lives. We’re sharing this together and that’s pretty good.” Which, yes, may be cheesy, but the perfect feel for a festival. Unlike Van (kind of holding a grudge). With that, Stipe exclaims “We’re doing new stuff and it’s all two and a half minutes long and if you don’t like something take a pee break or get another beer.”
They played “The Great Beyond which was amazing. Stipe said they haven’t practiced that in two years and nobody would have known.

They also did a new track off of their new album, Accelerate, titled “Houston”. It was written “In response to [Barbara Bush’s] comment after Hurricane Katrina.” A little risky to play this critical song in the actual state that the song is written about. But that’s why you have to love REM.
Stipe’s voice has not changed with age just continues to be the driving force of the overall mood of REM’s craft. He fulfills all aspects of a true artist. He provokes thought, comments on society and raises questions on our status as humans. May be too deep for me to be writing, but the true musicianship of this band, which endured time so well, is definitely that I’ll want to see again and again.

Basically, if I don’t hear another note of music in the next three days that I’m here, I’m okay with that. It’s pretty hard to be better than a master. Pictures and article by Jennie

3 Responses

  1. Teibs and Shore Said,

    So who would you put in your top-3 front men? I’d have to say I’ve got Mick Jagger #1, and probably Steven Tyler #2. Aside from that, I may have to stand by our assertion that Michael Stipe is #3. I’ve never seen the Foo Fighters, but I’ve heard Dave Grohl deserves at least honorable mention. -AS

    Posted on March 13th, 2008 at 11:25 am

  2. Teibs and Shore Said,

    Personally, I put Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips and Thom Yorke of Radiohead on the top of the tops. I’m going only based on what I’ve seen. Then Stipe comes in at #3.

    I’m sure Mick is loads better and, though I’m not a huge Aerosmith fan, I can see the Steven Tyler scarf on the mic being entertaining. I still need to see Paul, the #1 of #1’s.

    Posted on March 14th, 2008 at 8:11 am

  3. Teibs and Shore Said,

    See, I haven’t seen the Flaming Lips or Radiohead to be able to judge those guys as top tier front men. Though I have heard about the spectacle that is the Flaming Lips, and can only imagine how incredible Radiohead is live. Can’t wait for Lollapalooza!

    I didn’t even consider Paul, but from the live footage I have seen, there is no bigger rock star. I guess that 1) I didn’t think of him because he will always be a Beatle me (no front man) and 2) he’s a Beatle–that’s cheating. -AS

    Posted on March 14th, 2008 at 9:34 am

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