After a career that’s spanned more than 25 years, R.E.M. is releasing its first official live CD/DVD. Billboard reports the cleverly titled R.E.M. Live will see cellophane on October 16 and includes 22 tracks taken from a 2005 performance in Dublin, Ireland.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is the performance was in support of Around the Sun â€“ the weakest and most tepid of the group’s uneven post-Bill Berry output â€“ and therefore devotes six of the 22 songs to that train wreck. The complete track list is as follows:
“I Took Your Name”
“So Fast, So Numb”
Boy in the Well“
The Ascent of Man“
Leaving New York“
I Wanted To Be Wrong“
“Imitation of Life”
“The One I Love”
“Losing My Religion”
“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”
“(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”
“I’m Gonna DJ”
“Man on the Moon”
Only three of the set’s songs come before the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1988 (four if you count the fact that “Bad Day” was written in the IRS era and updated for the 2003 In Time compilation). Notwithstanding the fact that R.E.M. is better received internationally these days than in the U.S., this particular performance still seems like an odd choice. If the two-disc version of last year’s And I Feel Fine compilation proved anything it’s that the band was better in the ’80s and that quality recordings of shows from those days are out there and at the band’s disposal.
What’s more, R.E.M. played a string of consecutive Dublin shows earlier this summer where the band dusted off classic material like “Gardening at Night,” “West of the Fields” and “Second Guessing.” Why not release something from those shows?
Looking ahead, R.E.M. is collaborating with Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Editors, Snow Patrol … yay) for its 14th studio record and is contributing the song “New Orleans Instrumental No. 1″ to the forthcoming soundtrack to the forthcoming Kurt Cobain documentary, Kurt Cobain â€“ About a Son.
Looking back, Aug. 24 marked the 25th anniversary of the landmark Chronic Town EP.