Watch: Michael Shannon and Jason Narducy lure all four members of R.E.M. on stage in Athens
It wasn't a reunion — and they didn't perform together. But the sight of all four members of R.E.M. on stage last night at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga., has already rippled around the world.
The British music magazine NME was one of the first to report the moment, which saw singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry shoulder-to-shoulder at a tribute concert helmed by Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon and musician Jason Narducy.
The pair came to town to celebrate the 40th anniversary of R.E.M.'s 1983 debut, Murmur. Last summer at the Metro in Chicago, Shannon, Narducy and friends performed the album in its entirety along with some of their other favorite R.E.M. songs. That performance made such a splash that they decided to tour the country this month, landing at the 40 Watt Club, a historic musical home for heroes of the Athens music scene, including R.E.M., the B-52’s, Pylon, Vic Chesnutt, Five Eight and others.
Mills joined Shannon and Narducy for that Chicago gig, and in Athens last night, he and Peter Buck contributed to the music after Michael Stipe took the microphone and announced how happy the members of the band were to be there. The Murmur tribute setlist included seminal "Radio Free Europe" and "Talk About the Passion" as well as fan favorites "Driver 8" and "(Don't go back to) Rockville."
The tour continues through Valentine's Day with stops in Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y.
On the R.E.M. front, Michael Stipe has been unusually visible lately, popping up around the art world, talking with the New York Times about solo material and posing for a YSL campaign.
And here's something to look forward to: All members of R.E.M. will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame during the 53rd Annual Induction and Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City on June 13. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and introduced by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.