A/V Room









REM: Caught live at Live 8

Review: Jack Foley

"WE'RE REM and this is what we do" announced Michael Stipe, ahead of REM's set at Live 8 in Hyde Park.

The enigmatic frontman (who bore an uncanny resemblance to the X-Men character, The Crawler, because of the blue stripe across his face) then delivered three songs that reflected the diversity of REM's back catalogue, kicking off with a rousing version of Imitation of Life, before launching into one of the song's of the day, Everybody Hurts.

The ballad, comprised of painful yet inspiring lyrics, was a truly unifying song for a unifying day - prompting the crowd to sway together, hug loved ones and sing at the top of their voices.

Given the context of the occasion, its words took on added poignancy and Stipe's striking vocals ensured that they were delivered with total clarity.



Given the serious nature of the track, however, it was good that REM followed it with one of their liveliest numbers - not Shiny Happy People, as you might expect, but Man on the Moon.

The song was delivered with carefree abandon and the whole band seemed to relax properly for the first time - Stipe bouncing around the stage like a man half his age, and gyrating his hips as he yelled out 'hey baby' on several occasions.

Even the guitars seemed faster than normal, thereby ensuring that the thought-provoking sentiment of Everybody Hurts was quickly replaced with a real party song that kept up the crowds' spirits.

Then again, the song may have been selected for extra significance - for if, as the chorus states, we put a man on the moon, surely we can take action to prevent a child dying every three seconds in Africa, can't we?

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