R.E.M.’s Original Lineup Appears Onstage Together For The First Time In 17 Years
R.E.M. officially broke up in 2011, and it’s been a pretty definitive breakup. In fact, it’s been ever longer than that since all four original members of the band shared a stage. Drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997, after suffering a brain aneurysm, and he last appeared with the band when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007. Last night, though, all four R.E.M. guys were back together onstage in their hometown of Athens, Georgia.
Right now, the actor Michael Shannon and Bob Mould Band/Split Single musician Jason Narducy are on tour, playing R.E.M.’s classic debut Murmur in full every night on the road. The tour came out of a 2023 Chicago show where R.E.M.’s Mike Mills surprised Shannon and Narducy by joining them onstage. Last night, Shannon and Narducy’s tour came to Athens’ 40 Watt Club. By the end of the night, all four members of R.E.M. came up onstage.
Last night wasn’t the first time since the Hall Of Fame induction that Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry were all in a room together. All four of them were at the 40 Watt in 2022 for the all-star tribute to the Chronic Town EP, but only Buck and Mills got onstage. Last night, the different R.E.M. members got up, in different configurations, to perform with Shannon, Narducy, and their band. Bill Berry, for instance, played piano on “Perfect Circle,” a song that he primarily wrote. Michael Stipe did not perform. At the end of the night, though, all of them were up there, and Stipe told the crowd, “Speaking on behalf of Bill and Mike and Peter, we are so fucking thrilled to be here tonight.” Check it out below.
Here’s some “Perfect Circle”:
And here are some videos from last night, including a Velvet Underground cover, that don’t feature the R.E.M. members. Michael Shannon sounds great!
In other R.E.M. news, the band will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in June, and Michael Stipe’s solo music is reportedly still on the way, whenever he feels that it’s ready. (It could still be a while.) Check out our We’ve Got A File On You interview with Michael Shannon here.