Question: What is the greatest piece of silence ever captured on record? Answer: Forget John Cage and his lengthy 4'33". It's that brief pause on R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant that is bookended with the sharp departure of Begin The Begin and the jangling, diving intro to These Days. It's so utterly imprinted on my brain that to have one song without the other, and that magical non-audible glue in the middle, is like Morecambe without Wise.
I bring this up for no good reason other than because I was reminded of it this week when it failed to materialise during the band's performance at the Southampton Rose Bowl. However, as a whole, it rocked. I won't go on at length about my teenage obsession with the band (the Out Of Time, AFTP era), but safe to say that as the years have gone on, they've lost a certain relevance, and certainly the last time I saw them live (the Up tour), it was a disappointment.
No disappointment this time though, utterly brilliant. Sure, bit too many "greatest hits" for my liking, but also a decent smattering of the good stuff, and the new songs from Accelerate are great on the CD, and even better live.
The set list (in album order, it's the only way I can remember these things)
7 Chinese Bros
Auctioneer (Another Engine)
Begin The Begin (not followed by These Days though, boooo)
Fall On Me
It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
The One I Love
Losing My Religion
Ignoreland (a definite highlight)
Man On The Moon
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
Let Me In (Mike, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin on acoustic guitars, all crowded around Peter on keyboard)
Imitation of Life
Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Horse To Water
I'm Gonna DJ
The Great Beyond
Nothing from Chronic Town or Murmur, nothing from Up, save Michael's acapella version of the first two lines from 'Hope' whilst Mike prepared himself to play Nightswimming, which was a shame - I like Up. Also nothing from Around The Sun - no-one missed it.
Consider R.E.M. back on the playlist.