RAPID GIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

New album 'Around The Sun' is being taken round the globe...

REM will follow their first ever South African dates in spring 2005 with a jaunt round the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

The band’s world tour kicks off next month in north America, and there will be dates in Europe in early 2005 before the band head for South Africa in early March.

REM finish up in South Africa on March 10, and start their Far East tour in Tokyo on March 15.

The South African, Far East, Aussie and NZ dates are as follows dates are at:

Cape Town Bellville Velodrome (March 3)

Durban ABSA Stadium (8)

Johannesburg Coca-Cola Dome (10)

Tokyo Budokan (15)

Nagoya Geijyutsu Gekijyo (17)

Osaka Grand Cube (18)

Hong Kong (Wanchai) Convention & Exhibition (20)

Christchurch Westpac (25)

New Plymouth Bowl Of Brooklands (26)

Brisbane Entertainment Centre (29)

Sydney Entertainment Centre (31)

Melbourne Rod Laver Arena (April 3)

Adelaide Entertainment Centre (6)

Perth Burswood Dome (8)

As previously revealed on NME.COM, the group will come to the UK twice in 2005, in February for indoor arena dates, and then again in the summer for stadium shows.

The tour will be preceded by a small London date at the Hammersmith Apollo (February 19), the same venue the group played at last night’s Oxfam Make Trade Fair charity show where they were joined by Chris Martin.

The tour visits: London Hammersmith Apollo (February 19)

Sheffield Hallam FM Arena (21)

Glasgow SECC (22)

Birmingham NEC (23)

Lancashire County Cricket Ground (June 17)

Loch Lomond Balloch Country Park (18)

Hull The KC Stadium (July 5)

Nottingham Forest Football Club (6)

London Hyde Park (9)

Cardiff Millennium Stadium (10)

For ticket availability, [url=]click here or call the NME Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663.

REM‘s new album, ‘Around The Sun’, is released on October 4. For a full review, see this week’s NME, dated October 2, on sale now.