R.E.M. Brings London Apple Store Up To Speed
R.E.M. showcased its new album, “Accelerate” (Warner Bros.), alongside obscure old songs during an intimate showcase for fans and media at the Apple Store on London’s Regent Street.
The gig on Wednesday (Mar. 26), part of the iTunes Live From London series, began with “Bad Day,” followed by “Auctioneer (Another Engine)” from 1985’s “Fables of the Reconstruction,” before the band unveiled its first new song, lead single “Supernatural Superserious.”
Michael Stipe, looking dapper in a suit and tie, was in relaxed form, joking, “I have an eye boner because I’m kind of a Mac guy. Once you go Mac, you never go back.”
To wild applause from the 400-odd fan club members and competition winners in attendance, he announced, “We’re going to do 10 more songs and then we’ll all go for a curry somewhere. Not collectively — although if you’re buying I might consider it.”
A plaintive version of “Fall on Me” from 1986’s “Life’s Rich Pageant” and “West of the Fields” from the band’s 1983 debut “Murmur” contrasted with garage-y sounding new material like “Man-Sized Wreath,” “Houston,” “Living Well Is the Best Revenge,” “Hollow Man” and “I’m Gonna DJ,” which saw Peter Buck rocking out and pogo-ing despite the perilously low ceiling.
A public vote saw “Man on the Moon” favored over “Losing My Religion” for what Stipe called “tonight’s one hit song,” before the set closed with “Walk Unafraid” from 1998’s “Up” and another new song, “Horse to Water.”
The gig, which will be available as an audio download from the iTunes Music Store at a future date, came just two days after the band played its first-ever show at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. After a May-June tour in the U.S. and Canada, R.E.M. returns to the U.K. in July for a headline slot at the T in the Park festival, followed by stadium shows in August.
(Written by: Mark Sutherland, London- Billboard.com)