REM tour kicks into gear at the Hollywood Bowl

Veteran rockers tinker with new arrangements

R.E.M won over the massive crowd at the Hollywood Bowl last night (May 29), despite the fact that it’s so early in their world tour the band were still experimenting with arrangements.

The veteran rockers played for nearly two hours, packing their set with songs from their new album ‘Accelerate’ that sat surprisingly well next to old favourites like ‘What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?’ and ‘Bad Day’.

“We haven’t quite figured out how to play this one yet,” Michael Stipe told a near-capacity crowd before leading his bandmates into a charmingly tentative ‘I’ve Been High’.

A “here goes nothin’” shrug from Peter Buck, still tuning his acoustic guitar as he prepared to take the plunge, prompted Stipe to add, “It’s a beautiful song, and this will have to be our interpretation of it for now.”

But it was the cherry-picked classics that thrilled fans at the Bowl: ‘Fall On Me’ was a stunner, ‘Ignoreland’ was getting its third airing ever, and ‘Sitting Still’ was played at the request of a local fan who attended a recent signing for ‘Hello’, the book Stipe put together with photographer David Belisle.

The guitar attack of the new album was replicated nicely onstage by Buck and Scott McCaughey, the Young Fresh Fellows and Minus Five alum who sat in for the entire set.

The evening culminated with Stipe leading the crowd in a powerful singalong to ‘Man On The Moon’.

Before the sun had set, openers Modest Mouse played a ramshackle hour to a baffled half-full house who didn’t seem to realise that the guy standing stage right was Johnny Marr–the legendary Smiths guitarist who might be able to rival Buck for significance in rock guitar history.

R.E.M played:

‘Pretty Persuasion’

‘Living Well Is the Best Revenge’

‘What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?’

‘Sitting Still’

‘Ignoreland’

‘Man-Sized Wreath’

‘Circus Envy’

‘Drive’

‘Accelerate’

‘Hollow Man’

‘Fall On Me’

‘Houston’

‘Electrolite’

‘Final Straw’

‘I’ve Been High’

‘Let Me In’

‘Losing My Religion’

‘Horse to Water’

‘Bad Day’

‘Walk Unafraid’

‘I’m Gonna DJ’

‘Supernatural Superserious’

‘The One I Love’

‘Until the Day Is Done’

‘Man On the Moon’

Modest Mouse played:

‘Dashboard’

‘Fire It Up’

‘Truckers Atlas’

‘King Rat’

‘Doin’ the Cockroach’

‘Float On’

‘Paper Thin Walls’

‘The Good Times Are Killing Me’

‘The View’

–By our Los Angeles staff.

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