the helter-skelter head-rush continues unabated through another new number. ‘Revolution‘ (‘this is a pretty stoopid song.‘ Stipe elucidates). and a storming version of "l‘ongue' (which proves that his falsetto is no recording-studio gimmick but a living. licking thing). before arriving at the evening‘s high—spot. ‘Man on the Moon' which is preceded by a long. rambling explanation involving Patti Smith and the moon. and includes Michael Stipe’s famous impersonation of Andy Kaufman's famous

impersonation of Elvis Presley. All thoughts of

frontman/backbeat duality are suddenly dispelled by the sublime union of kooky words and majestic cadences it's beautiful and uplifting. and it has the crowd in raptures. Man. it‘s enough to mak ye greet. ()r at least smile a blisscd-out smile.

So far. there‘s been no sign of the muso instrument—swapping that characterised the band‘s previous period. and neither hide nor hair has been seen of the band‘s pre-1992 back-

catalogue. But they‘re no fools. these world- bestriding Athenians. They haven‘t belted their

way up to this peak without planning out some coasting for the downward slopes.

Just when you think they‘ve abandoned acoustic music for good. Peter‘s mandolin‘s appeared from the wings. Bill‘s abandoned the drums to take over on bass and Mike's switched to keyboards. It’s time out for a three-song

selection from ()m of Time. When the last of

these is introduced as ‘really. totally and

absolutely for you . . . collectively.~ you kind of

know what‘s coming. Sure enough. ‘Losing My Religion‘ complete with multi-coloured fairy lights remains the surest way of making thousands of German people exceptionally shiny and happy.

Having rounded this point. there’s nothing left for it but to rev up for the home straight. sailing on the goodwill of a crowdpleaser to launch one final new song. ‘Departure‘ angry. violent and


accompanied by shards of light on the projection screens.

‘Pop Song 80' and ‘(iet l'p‘ follow. the oldest material so far plundered. and the set winds up with the punky thrash of ‘Star 69‘. for my money one of convincing moments.

It‘s a disappointing note to close on. but of course encores are inevitable. The first of these is let Me ln‘. and this time the twinkle of Zippos is for Kurt Cobain. in whose memory the song was written. Emotionally. it’s the show‘s

ill()/I.vl(’l“.\' lL‘SS

When the First Family or rock do finally bestow a visit on the starving masses, it’d better be good.

rawest point. but balm is forthcoming. in the form of ‘Everybody llurts'. perhaps the most guileless song the band has ever created. and certainly one of the most popular.

The last song of the evening also the oldest. though hardly unearthed from a peat bog is a






blistering rendition of 'lt‘s the End of the World as We Know lt‘. so everyone gets to sing along with the chorus and shout ‘l_.eonard Bernstein‘ at the appropriate moment. It's a sound choice. even if a few crackers have been left unpulled. Still. you can't please all the punters all the time 7— not even by playing ‘Radio Free Europe‘ every night.

So there you have it. The highs and lows ofthe live show. l9‘)5 vintage. There may be small doubts here and there. bttt the big pitfall of complacency has been sidestepped probably because these guys are out to satisfy themselves. and they've never been ones to enjoy resting on their laurels. It‘s a heady and intoxicating brew. and should be tasted. not just for its cheeky fragrance and lasting. full-bodied flavour. but also to be prosaic because R.E.M. are on record as saying they may never tour like this again. And in any case. six years is a helluva long time to wait. Drink deep. friends. drink deep. '_I R. If. M. play Mia'rav/ielrl, lz‘rlinburg/z on Thursday 27 July. 7Yckers are still availableme all usual outlets.

Murraytield is easily accessible by train or bus. The stadium is about ten minutes’ walk from Haymarket Station. where most buses and trains coming from the West

lf driving. simply take the A8 into town from the west. Murrayfield is just off this road on the right. between (.‘orstorphine and Haymarket. Parking is 'available at the venue. but there are no restrictions in the surrounding area on Saturday afternoons.

Tickets priced £23.50 (subject to booking fee) can be purchased from most record shops. or by credit card from TOCTA. 0131 557 6969.

Doors open at 3pm. First band onstage at 5pm. The show will finish by 1 1pm. The support bands are American indie rockers Belly,jazzy hip-hop outfit Spearhead and Dolores O‘Riordan‘s bound-for-stardom popsters The Cranberries.

The List l4-27 Jul l‘)95 15