The R.E.M frontman was spotted at Punchestown Racecourse...

R.E.M‘s Michael Stipe took time out from the final sessions for the band’s forthcoming album to watch Radiohead play in DUBLIN at the weekend.

Stipe, a close friend of Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke, travelled to Punchestown Racecourse to see the band on October 7 in the middle of their three-night Big Top residency. Accompanied by U2 manager Paul McGuinness, he also spent a little time in the hospitality area post-performance before heading off into the night.

Meanwhile, R.E.M manager Bertis Downs has thanked fans for their successful campaign to save the ‘Murmur’ railway trestle in Athens, Georgia.

As reported in July on, the wooden trestle, which features on the back cover of the 1983 album, was due to be demolished.

However, R.E.M fans, who have afforded the landmark special significance, bombarded the local Athens County Mayor’s office with e-mails of protest, and the local government decided to purchase the trestle.

In a posting on the official REM website,, Downs thanked all who helped, adding that R.E.M kept a keen eye on events from their Dublin studio.

“We have been interested to follow the news from home about the R.E.M fans and their successful campaign to save the ‘Murmur’ trestle in Athens,” he said. “Pretty amazing, and certainly appreciated by all concerned.”

Downs also emphasised that the new album was almost in the bag, with the finishing touches to be added in the US over the next couple of weeks.

“The new record should be finished by the end of the year, and released next April or May,” he concluded.