Friday, March 14, 2008

R.E.M. on ACL

I've never been the guy who gets in to the show that everyone else is trying to get into, but I actually managed to score a spot for R.E.M.'s Austin City Limits taping yesterday afternoon. It was the first ACL taping I've been to in almost 21 years of living in Austin.

The band played for almost two hours, alternating between songs from Accelerate (due Apr. 1) and tried-and-true classics like "Losing My Religion" and "Fall On Me." I've been listening to Accelerate for a couple of weeks now, trying to form a cogent opinion on it. It's definitely R.E.M.'s most rocking album since Monster, but after hearing songs like "Hollow Man" and "Supernatural Superserious" live, I think it's better than that.

For the first time in years, R.E.M. sounds hungry. Heck, they must be if Peter Buck is doing interviews with the likes of yours truly. Maybe they're not setting the pace anymore like they were in 1986, but watching them play in a room with just a few hundred others, I was instantly aware that I was witnessing one of the world's great rock bands doing a lot more than just going through the motions for nostalgia's sake.

The show is set to air May 24, on the eve of R.E.M.'s summer tour. I don't know if I wound up in any audience shots, but if you're looking, I'll be the dork in the velvet cord jacket bobbing his head while taking notes.

1 comment:

Kate said...

And to think that at the very moment you were watching REM, I was only a few miles away listening to the muffled strains of SXSW through my downtown office windows and willing the people I'd called to call me back and give me editorial gold. Sigh.