R.E.M. returned to its roots with supporting acts Modest Mouse and the Nationals to end its U.S. tour Saturday night at Lakewood Amphitheater.
Unfortunately, not much can be said about the underwhelming openers, a sentiment apparently shared by the attending masses. Modest Mouse performed with minimal enthusiasm for a modest crowd, a great many of whom didn't bother finding their seats until R.E.M. began its set.
What followed, however, was an excellent show even for a casual fan (or someone familiar with the majority of R.E.M.'s hits, thanks to the group's hourly inclusion on 99X since its primordium). Stipe and company had a commendable set list that managed well the fragile balance of crowd pleasers and new material. In contrast to Modest Mouse's nearly agonizing show (featuring Issac Brock's writhing ability to constantly appear mid-struggle in withholding escaping intensities), Stipe performed with the energy of a newcomer playing an arena for the first time, hamming it up to a highly receptive hometown crowd whilst rocking dance moves most often observed at MJQ on a Wednesday night.
Not overly talkative to start, there were two notable pauses for politically-charged diatribes, one of which, discussing his support for Obama (aka Mr. November), launched a cavalcade of cheers and nearly as many boos from the surprisingly youngish crowd (that was nevertheless peppered with aging hipsters, one of whom sporadically and enthusiastically waved a cane).
In the most enchanting moment of the night, Stipe encouraged the crowd to recreate a vision of the twinkling lights of Hollywood by holding up cell phones under dimmed house lights during the bridge of "Electrolyte." Since most of the cell phones were held up intermittently throughout the entire song, one can only conclude that very few people know what a bridge actually is. Still, for all their trouble, those digital devils did evoke the distinct appearance of a glimmering city.
In other technological happenings, R.E.M.'s background setup for the show mostly featured a distorted video feed of the performers, creating a kind of instant nostalgia where the mundane (Stipe's tapping foot or solo outstretched hand) became immediately iconic. There was also the second-night debut of a new video clip for "Man-Sized Wreath," which seemed to take its inspiration from both low-res video games and a certain Sony Bravia commercial.
The band returned for an encore of sorts more of a truncated second set that was nevertheless met with extreme enthusiasm from the crowd (who, for the most part, stayed until the very end). All in all, an appropriate tour-ending bow to the place where it all began.
(Photo by Katie Tanner)
So... we don't know anything about what's going in next? b/c I noticed another demolition…
so many amazing nights both DJing and dancing there. from back in the day Team…
"...surely making room for another living-shopping-condo-monstrosity experience, or something else that's equally as atrocious..."
One of my favorite places to play in the mid 90's. Probably because we could…
i'd love to see a definitive list of the bands that played Dottie's and the…
Killin it. So damn sexy