Cat Power’s Bob Dylan tour isn’t the only left-field “one high-profile artist covering another high-profile artist” event out on the road in early 2024. The unlikely combination of actor Michael Shannon and guitarist Jason Narducy has been touring in celebration of R.E.M.‘s earliest recordings, specifically the album Murmur. Notably, one of R.E.M.’s members — bassist Mike Mills — joined the duo and their band last year in Chicago, suggesting that at least some members of Athens, Georgia’s favorite sons were on board with the project.
Turns out R.E.M.’s founding quartet is a bit more enthusiastic about Shannon and Narducy’s foray into their back catalog than that. As Stereogum’s Tom Breihan reported, Shannon and Narducy came through Athens last night, and by the end of their set, all four original members of R.E.M. had joined them onstage. This was the first time that Mills, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Bill Berry had shared a stage since 2007.
According to Stereogum’s reporting, Stipe gave a good sense of the quartet’s feelings at night’s end. “Speaking on behalf of Bill and Mike and Peter, we are so fucking thrilled to be here tonight,” he said.
On a post on his Instagram account, Narducy wryly described the experience as “a completely normal rock concert.”
“Huge thanks to the four original members of @rem and their wonderful people…for making us feel so welcome,” he wrote.
How R.E.M. Changed American Rock ForeverThey weren’t necessarily the best selling or the most loved, but they altered music immensely.
As for the original members of R.E.M., they’ve also been staying busy, with Stipe working on a solo album and Buck collaborating with Luke Haines and releasing a new Baseball Project album. Buck also produced Eyelids’ 2023 album A Colossal Waste of Light, which is a fine example of cerebral yet jangly guitar-driven rock. And the Shannon/Narducy tour still has a few days to go before it wraps up with a stop in New York City.
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