R.E.M. Returns To Athens For Secret Show

R.E.M. pulled off a top-secret, hush-hush concert in its hometown of Athens, Ga., on Tuesday night (Oct. 16), taking the stage at the Georgia Theatre in front of a less-than-packed house that had come

R.E.M. pulled off a top-secret, hush-hush concert in its hometown of Athens, Ga., on Tuesday night (Oct. 16), taking the stage at the Georgia Theatre in front of a less-than-packed house that had come to see a movie and a local band.

Only a handful of the 200 or so people in attendance knew the world-famous band would perform that night. The crowd had come to see a free screening of "Our Song," the new film by former Athens resident Jim McKay, and a set by a local band called the Possibilities.

But the buzz began as R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, joined by Scott McCaughey and Ken Stringfellow, who both perform on the band's latest Warner Bros. album, "Reveal," took the stage with the Possibilities.

The band -- Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe -- joined by McCaughey, Stringfellow, and drummer Joey Waronker, walked onstage shortly after 11 p.m. to play a 15-song set, opening with "Imitation of Life," the first single from "Reveal."

R.E.M.'s performance -- its first full-band set in Athens since 1992 -- came about as band members were in town rehearsing for this weekend's 15th annual Bridge School Benefit Concerts outside San Francisco and the Groundwork 2001 show in Seattle on Monday (Oct. 22).

"Peter had been really wanting to do a show while he was in town, and the stars really were just in the right alignment for this to happen," band manager Bertis Downs said.

Local organization Community Connection sponsored the event to thank residents for their generosity after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Here is R.E.M.'s setlist:

"Imitation of Life"
"All the Way to Reno"
"The Great Beyond"
"The Lifting"
"Let Me In"
"Cuyahoga"
"She Just Wants to Be"
"Lotus"
"Walk Unafraid"
"Losing My Religion"
"Man on the Moon"

encore:
"I've Been High"
"Ghost Rider"
"It's the End of the World As We Know It"/"People Have the Power"


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