R.E.M. on Letterman

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Alternative, Live Performances
Tags: , , ,

In looking up early live performances from R.E.M., I came across their appearance on Late Night with David Letterman in 1983. It was their first national TV appearance, and the performance was quite raw and contained no shortage of enthusiasm. Besides performing two songs, they also gave a mini-interview. Michael Stipe, known for his shyness, sat quietly in the background while Mike Mills and Peter Buck handled Letterman. They started with “Radio Free Europe” and finished with a song that was so new it did not yet have a name. It would later evolve into “So. Central Rain,” which would later show up on their second album, Reckoning.

Here’s the band performing “Radio Free Europe,” with Michael Stipe hiding behind his hair and Peter Buck doing his signature shuffle.

 

The yet untitled “So. Central Rain.”

 

Side note: This November, R.E.M. will release a 6-DVD box set (REMTV) that spans 30 years of live TV and concert performances.

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