REM London Hammersmith Apollo 19 February 2005

REM London Hammersmith Apollo 19 February 2005
REMprogI was late getting into REM, and didn’t go to see them until 2005. By then drummer Bill Berry had left the band and they were a core three piece of Peter Buck on guitar, Mike Mills on bass and Michael Stipe on vocals. Their 2005 word tour was to promote their 13th album “Around the Sun”. The tour called at arenas and during the summer reached massive outdoor venues, including an appearance in Hyde Park. Marie and I went to this intimate show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. For this tour, Stipe adopted wore a green greasepaint ring circling his head around his eyes, resembling the Green Lantern’s mask and also a blindfold. The stage show consisted of dozens of light tubes hanging above the band, displaying several colour-changes as the concert progressed: yellow for “Everybody Hurts”, and red for “Losing My Religion” in front of plates which produced a backdrop of sparks and flashes. The set was a mix of new songs and classics, with a seven song encore. A great concert, I shouldn’t have left it so long to go and see REM. remtix
Setlist: I Took Your Name; Animal; Undertow; The Outsiders; 7 Chinese Bros; High Speed Train; Everybody Hurts; Electron Blue; Leaving New York; I’ve Been High; Departure; Orange Crush; I Wanted to Be Wrong; Final Straw; Imitation of Life; The One I Love; Walk Unafraid; Losing My Religion. Encore: What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?; Bad Day; Sweetness Follows; Swan Swan H; Electrolite; I’m Gonna DJ; Man on the Moon.
We also saw REM play a brief set in London’s Hyde Park as part Live 8, and had tickets for their show in Hyde Park that summer. Their Hyde Park concert was postponed because of the 2005 London bombings, and we couldn’t make the new date for some reason (I don’t recall what) and obtained a refund, missing the gig. REM are sadly missed from the music scene; a great band.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t see REM when they played the City Hall in 89, I think they played the Mayfair in 85 as well but the gig had been and gone by the time I’d got the album they’d just released, Fables of the Reconstruction, which I still think is there best. I’d heard their name before but first time I saw them was on the Tube doing Driver 8, the single from that album, and thought it sounded great, so got the album and became a fan. By the time they played Newcastle CH on the Green tour in 1989 they were a big band, remember being really surprised they were playing here, or if so weren’t playing the much bigger Whitley Bay Ice Rink, though who knows, maybe somebody told them how cold it would be! They were doing multiple Wembley Arena’s on this tour so seeing them at NCH was unexpected but great, what a gig, the demand was massive so it was a complete sell out, what was striking was despite them already being a really high profile rock band they had retained their earlier eccentricity in their live show, alongside their own material we got treated to covers by Aerosmith, the Velvets and Gang of Four, now that’s variation! Plus just before the encore Stipe came on and performed Dark Globe by Syd Barrett, one of my heroes, acapella, just stunning. Great gig, they reminded me a lot of Talking Heads when I saw them at the same venue at a very similar point in their career, a big band about to become a huge band. You sort of knew you’d never see them at the City Hall again and I was right. I did see them once more, at Murrayfield Edinburgh in 95, and they were superb again, but you can never get that intimacy in a stadium, and amid the bombast you need in that setting, I missed the nuance of that night at the City Hall.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 22, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Ross

      Yes I wish I’d been at the City Hall gig, but I was working crazily in the 80s and 90s and had family to bring up. I was travelling all over the country and managing 250 staff so gigs were on the backburner for a little, sadly. A great band sadly missed. Happy days Peter


  2. I too was at the city hall show on the Green tour 1989, still have my program! Tremendous show, they really were a great band in those days, I had tickets to see them in Sheffield at the arena there in 1995 but it was cancelled due to Bill Berry’s life threatening illness, and long story short never actually saw REM again despite multiple opportunities, which looking back I kick myself for, because they meant a lot to me in the day. Oh well, thems the breaks … ,


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