" 93' Kids
This fortnight. R.E.M. play Murrayfield. their first Scottish date since May 1989. In the past six years, they‘ve hit a pinnacle of success. with three crucial albums and a string of rockbiz awards. But can they still cut it live‘.’ Andrew Burnet went to Hamburg and caught ‘em at it for the people . . .
It’s a simple enough greeting. you might think. especially in Hamburg. many of whose [Euro- unsceptical citizens speak better [English than the average Wapping hack. But this is no ordinary hail-fellow-well-met. 'l‘his. meinen Herren und Damen. is the moment Hamburg has been awaiting for six long years — the time-lapse since REM. last swept through northern Europe conquering all in their path on the legendary Green World Tour.
And then there‘s the creature which has uttered these words: one J. Michael Stipe. ls he man or Monster? Godhead or goblin“? All-out rocker or arch post-modernist? Visionary or rectal auto-examiner“? Or all of the above‘.’ Billiard-ball barnet; runty-assed frame; knowing. flirtatious smirk: questionable taste in shirts. Yep. that‘s Michael Stipe all right.
‘Guter Nacht. Well. guten something anyway . . . hello.‘
And the Hamburgers say. ‘llello Michael. Willkommen.‘
They have reason to be grateful he‘s here at all. Just four months ago. a few hundred miles away in Lausanne. Switzerland. drummer Bill Berry staggered from the stage mid-show. nursing what proved to be a ruptured aneurysm on the right side of his brain. Surgery followed two days later. and fora while the future of the band — never mind the tour — hung in the balance. But the boy Berry is back behind the drumkit. a business-like frown creasing that single. furry- caterpillar eyebrow of his. Serious headbanging may be off-limits for a while yet. but he‘s still ready to give the skins a damn good hiding.
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The List l4-27 Jul @9513,