The Late Movies: 13 Live R.E.M. Performances

Chris Higgins

When I heard the news last week that R.E.M. had called it quits, I was a little sad -- but then I realized I had a great excuse for posting old R.E.M. performance videos! R.E.M. was my favorite band in high school, and I still treasure their early albums. Enjoy, and post your favorites in the comments.

"Radio Free Europe"

Live on Letterman, 1983. From Murmur, still my favorite R.E.M. album. Check out the dueling Rickenbackers!

"Sitting Still"

Another great song from Murmur, performed in 1984.

"Gardening at Night"

Chronic Town was so good, you guys. Live in 1984.

"So. Central Rain"

From Reckoning, also on Letterman in 1983, prior to the album's release and the song even having a name.

"I Believe"

From Lifes Rich Pageant, part of Tourfilm (performed during the Green tour, 1990) -- confused yet? Check out the recently re-released Lifes Rich Pageant, notable mostly for its second disc of demos and rarities.

"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"

From Reckoning, 1984. Look how young they are!

"Driver 8"

From Fables of the Reconstruction, live in 1985. During Stipe's first blonde period.

"Fall On Me"

The best song on Lifes Rich Pageant, live on MTV's Unplugged. If you can find a bootleg of the Unplugged performance, it's great -- I wish they'd release an official CD. (Just before this video begins, Stipe says: "This may well be my favorite song in the R.E.M. catalogue.")

"Half a World Away"

One of my favorites from Out of Time, performed on Unplugged.

"Love is All Around"

Mike Mills takes the lead on this Troggs cover from their killer Unplugged set.

"Orange Crush"

Live in 1989, from Green. The audio's way overloaded, but check out the David Byrne-esque Stipe outfit! For comparison, here's the same song from 2003.

"Everybody Hurts"

A lot newer than the other songs in this collection, but emotional and worth a look. 2008?

"It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

The classic from Document, performed on Unplugged. I love the a capella breakdown starting at 3:10, and throughout, watching the joy on the band's faces as it all comes together. See also this version from Tourfilm.

Post Your Favorites

These guys have three decades of performance under their belts, much of it documented nicely on YouTube -- post your favorite links in the comments.