Tuesday, April 01, 2008

R.E.M. on The Today Show (Happy Accelerate Day!)

If you weren't following my frequent twitters (tsk tsk), here's how it went (and yes, I'm dropping the usual "we" for this post):

I left Hobo at 4:30 a.m., but slow orange-line trains kept me from Rock Center until around 6. Only a handful of people on line at that point, but I still couldn't have arrived at a better time, because I got to share a spot on line with Matt and Mary Lou, and soon got a tap on my shoulder and met Jen behind us. All Murmursians, all great people - and all new friends.

We were around the corner from the stage, but not long after we arrived we heard an instrumental Losing My Religion off in the distance. Some nice folks held our spot in line while we snuck over to watch the band's first soundcheck, this one in the rainy dark under a tent. We walked up close to the stage but were shooed away by security. I took some video over my shoulder as we walked back toward the line, and then took some more photos from further away.

Eventually, we were allowed to file into the plebian section, which was separated from the stage by the VIP/Al Roker walkway area, though we were close enough to be satisfied (and actually were allowed to get closer right before the concert began).


Matt left us after a second soundcheck to run to work/buy fanclub presale tickets for MSG, and Mary Lou, Jen and I passed the time making fun of The Today Show, making fun of Jen for watching The Today Show, and learning interesting facts about Barack Obama (he prefers basketball to bowling; who knew?). We also made faces for the camera and my mom called to tell me she saw me on TV (I haven't seen it yet, but it's on the DVR). Eventually, after a brief run-through of Losing My Religion again, the end of the 8 o'clock hour began to approach and Matt Lauer introduced the band with a brief interview on stage.

I believe he said Rolling Stone called Accelerate "their best record ever," which is not true if he did (David Fricke called it one of their best); anyway, his comment seemed to embarrass the guys. Then it was time for Losing My Religion proper, which really got going on Buck's mandolin solo, as usual. Just as they started playing, it began to rain, and there was a great moment where Stipe pointed to the sky and smiled. Supernatural Superserious and Hollow Man rounded out the set and both sounded vibrant and really got the crowd going. Perhaps not my choices for singles, but they really worked in that venue, so maybe Warner Bros. knows a thing or two I don't.

Right after they finished up, Lauer made his closing remarks and they began tearing down the stage. We were hoping for another song perhaps later on, but it wasn't to be. Mary Lou suggested finding a record store, so we asked a cop and he directed us to the nearest Best Buy, where we grabbed a copy each and toasted to R.E.M. and new friendships. We also gushed and gushed about R.E.M. and didn't have anyone roll their eyes at us, which is a rare and glorious thing indeed.

Overall, the perfect way to celebrate Accelerate Day. Here's a video clip as I head back to bed for a much-needed nap...apologies for not being much of a photographer in the previous photos or in the vid below...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Matty's on the telly!! Matty's on the telly!! You are famous!! All my pals here are getting to see this. Coool!!!