Watch R.E.M. Members Perform At Their 40th Anniversary Tribute With Darius Rucker, Lenny Kaye, Indigo Girls, & More
Flashback: August 1982! Chronic Town was their first EP! R.E.M., one of the most important American bands of the past half-century or so, are now a distant memory; they officially broke up in 2011. But the people remember. This past summer, the band’s classic debut EP celebrated its 40th anniversary. And last night, an all-star gathering of fans and friends got together in the band’s Georgia hometown to celebrate the record and the band. All of R.E.M. were there, and two of them took part in the festivities.
Last night’s R.E.M. tribute show went down at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, and R.E.M. members Peter Buck and Mike Mills played with the house band for much of the night. That house band was full of heavy hitters, too. The Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson headed the band up, with his bandmate Sven Pipien on bass and Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin on drums. (Chris Robinson, Rich’s brother and the leader of the Black Crowes, was advertised to perform, but he didn’t make it.) Comedian David Cross hosted the show, and tons of luminaries came to the stage to cover their favorite R.E.M. songs.
The night was explicitly a Chronic Town tribute, but it ended up as a tribute to R.E.M.’s entire classic era. Guests included Chronic Town producer Mitch Easter, country star/Hootie And The Blowfish leader Darius Rucker, Patti Smith Group legend Lenny Kaye, the Indigo Girls, Rich’s son Quinn Robinson, Drivin N Cryin’s Kevn Kinney, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris, and Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins.
The Baseball Project, the long-running R.E.M. side project that includes Peter Buck and Mike Mills, also performed, as did some fellow Athens luminaries, including Elf Power and Pylon Reenactment Society, the band led by former Pylon singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay. The show ended with an all-star cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls.”
Below, check out a whole lot of videos and photos from the show.
Here are a couple of highlight reels of the whole night:
Here’s the Pylon Reenactment Society doing “Crush With Eyeliner”:
Here’s the Indigo Girls leading an “Orange Crush” singalong:
Here’s Fred Armisen doing “Gardening At Night”:
Here’s Mitch Easter singing “1,000,000”:
Here’s the Baseball Project playing “Maps And Legends”:
Here’s Kevn Kinney leading the band through “Fall On Me”:
Here’s John Driskell Hopkins playing “Driver 8”:
Some photos from the show:
They didn’t perform, but R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Bill Berry were in the house, too.
The night’s setlist:
There’s another Chronic Town tribute show going down tonight at the Roxy in Atlanta. It’s sold out, but you can livestream it for $9.99, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.