R.E.M.’s tour in support of the great Accelerate got under way this past Friday 5/23 in Burnaby (just outside Vancouver), and people are lovin’ it. Reader Nick wrote in to tell us about a report he filed for Whitney:
Wow, one of the most amazing R.E.M. shows I have seen! This was the first time they played Ignoreland live. It was awesome! Second Guessing! West of the Fields from Murmur! Get Up! I was just loving the set list, especially the new version of Let Me In which featured three acoustic guitars and a piano, which they all stood around in a circle. It gave me chills it was so beautiful.
Our in-house fact checking department (read: me clicking on the DriveXV liner notes) can confirm that Mike Mills told us “Ignoreland” had never been performed live. A year ago, Fluxblog theorized as to why that was as part of his track-by-track dissection of the R.E.M. oeuvre:
There’s two likely reasons for this. First, the album arrangement is a thick soup of overdubs, and though a streamlined version may have its charm, it would most likely sacrifice its illusion of density. Secondly, I suppose there may be some concern that the lyrics are a bit dated, but um, that argument doesn’t actually make good sense to me since its words only seem more relevant in the era of Fox News.
Whatever the reasons, the band finally blew the dust off the track and, with any hope, will keep it rotating through the setlist in shows to come. Maybe they were inspired by the Forms’ cover, which successfully showed that a streamlined and overdub free take on the song could not only work but also kick lots of ass. We have no idea what the concert-version of “Ignoreland” sounds like, but YouTube brings us audio/visual proof of the other super-rarity R.E.M. unleashed in Vancouver:
For the first time in 20 years, here’s Reckoning’s “Time After Time (Annelise),” live:
That comes via Fluxtumblr (obvs).
So if you woke up needing two more reasons to buy a ticket to the R.E.M. tour, you are welcome.