R.E.M. was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Saturday evening. While these days it's probably more in vogue to make fun of R.E.M. than to praise them, I feel like this event should still be noted with appreciation for what they were and what they meant to music in general.
During my formative years in the 80s, most of the music you could hear on the radio was pretty terrible (we tend to forget that as we age I guess), and my discovery of R.E.M. and other underground bands like the Replacements kept me going musically in the redneck wilderness that was my high school (or at least I thought so at the time). Knowing who these bands were allowed you into a certain "in" circle of those who musically got it. And yes I know I was an arrogant little bugger. And chief among these badges were R.E.M. and the Smiths. So, I'm pretty happy that they were thus enshrined, even though the large R.E.M. collection there gave me the impression that it had already happened.
I was also lucky enough to catch their live performance from the awards show on the local PBS station. Bill Berry rejoined the band onstage for a three song set, and the band without Michael Stipe then played back-up band to Gregg Allman for a performance of "Midnight Rider" (and somewhere in Atlanta Senior's head imploded).
So without further ado, here's their performance from Saturday evening. And yes, I'm still searching for the mp3s.
Their induction is nicely timed with the release of And I Feel Fine: Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987-- a retrospective of their years with IRS records which really should remind all of us that back in the day, R.E.M. were pretty damned good.
UPDATE: What he said.
NP: "Zurich is Stained" - Pavement