Which is good: otherwise you turn into the Rolling Stones.
It astonished me to think just now that the (one and only) concert at which I saw R.E.M. live was just about 25 years ago.
Just a few years after this.
Thanks, guys, for all the great music.
Dale explains something important to the kids of today about music fandom in the dark ages:
I write this within physical reach of seventeen REM CDs, almost all of them worth cherishing, the others merely well above average. Modern-day readers will understand CDs as sort of a primitive version of blu ray disks made especially for music -- no video signal at all -- and meant to carry upwards of 80 minutes of music. People paid money for them in stores, frequently without having heard a note of the music encoded on them beforehand, then trudged back to their hand-built log cabins to build a fire against the forbidding night's cold and for cooking cornbread or biscuits or thinnest gruel, depending on the quality of the recent harvest. The cows would need to be milked at dawn, the potatoes dug thereafter. Then school would start.
This is certainly helpful, but it occurs to me that I only bought my first R.E.M. CD in 1994 (Monster).
How am I supposed to explain cassette tapes?
Anyway, Dale's reference to school starting and to buying albums without ever having heard the music on them also reminded me of how it was that I first found out about this band.
In what must have been 1985 (before the band was really getting radioplay on anything other than 'college rock' stations), a girl sitting in one of my high school classes (I have an inkling it was 'social studies' or history) had worn a Fables of the Reconstruction T-shirt.
Finding the graphic design interesting and the title words evocative -- and, though I can't now recall but remembering how the mind of a fifteen-year-old boy works, perhaps finding the girl pretty -- I biked up that afternoon to a now-defunct 'record store' near my house (which was adjacent to something then known as a 'video arcade') and bought the tape.
I can still recall hearing that opening riff of 'Feeling Gravitys Pull' on my Sears all-in-one stereo unit. (It included, believe it or not, an 8-track player along with the turntable and tape deck. Having siblings of a certain age, it got some use, I assure you. This was an age before bit-torrent: you took your music where you could find it.)
There it was in all its analog glory, as I squatted next to the fire and sipped gruel.
To bring the whole clash-of-technologies theme full circle, an obsessive R.E.M. tour archive reminds me of exactly where and when that concert I saw took place and what songs they played:
4 November 1987 - Circle Pavillion, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
support: The dB's
set: Finest Worksong / These Days / Harborcoat / Disturbance At The Heron House / Fall On Me / Exhuming McCarthy / Orange Crush / Feeling Gravitys Pull / King Of Birds / White Tornado / Cuyahoga / Tired Of Singing Trouble / I Believe / Maps And Legends / Superman / Auctioneer (Another Engine) / Oddfellows Local 151 / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) / Begin The Begin
encore 1: Strange / Wolves, Lower / Driver 8 / Just A Touch
encore 2: The One I Love / Pop Song 89 / See No Evil
encore 3: Harpers / Crazy / After Hours
I forgot the dB's opened. But now remembering, they were excellent too.