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Live At The Olympia (2CD/1DVD)
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R.E.M. has assembled a great collection of some of their most under utilized songs and polished them up with spectacular production and some new twists. Long-time fans from the IRS years will love the jewels from Reckoning, Chronic Town and Fables. Songs like "Harborcoat", "Feeling Gravity's Pull" and "Maps and Legends" still sound fresh and relevant. Middle period R.E.M. doesn't get the same emphasis, but "Circus Envy" and "Electrolite" fit in perfectly. I have a whole new appreciation for them. The newest material from Accelerate is killer. Nearly all of Accelerate is here. Some of these songs sound different than their final versions, and that makes it even more interesting. "Until the Day is Done" is nearly perfect. "Living Well is the Best Revenge" will peel the paint of the walls. Turn this up loud!
Production credits are top notch. Mike Mills amazes. His bass playing is so unique and creative. I'm in awe. Stipe & Buck are in top form too. And I can't say enough about the packaging. It is very classy. Each song gets a write-up from Peter Buck. Extensive liner notes & great photography too. The entire package design is very classy. I've often wondered why R.E.M. didn't spruce up their CDs with better packaging, but this time they really did it right. Don't get this one on digital. Buy the physical product. And get the DVD version too.
Thanks R.E.M.!! One of the best live albums I've ever listened to.
"Live At the Olympia" (2 CDs; 39 tracks; 149 min.) is as astonishingly strong and fresh as "REM Live" felt forced and unnatural. (Interestingly, both these live albums were recorded in Dublin, albeit at different venues.) From the opening chords of "Living Well Is the Best Revenge" (also the opening track from the equally excellent "Accelerate" studio album released last year), the band plays with vigor and an extra kick not heard since.... well, probably since Barry left the band. Sprinkled throughout this opulence of 39 tracks are 8 of the 11 tracks from "Accelerate", which is actually a good thing (strangely, the single "Supernatural Superserious" is not on here). Thankfully missing on here are tried songs like "Everybody Hurts" and "Losing My Religion", which I simply can't stand hearing any more, ever. Instead we are treated to a boatload of old nuggets: half the track from the "Reckoning" album ("Second Guessing", "So. Central Rain", "Little America", "Harborcoat" and "Pretty Persuasion", all one better than the next), 4 tracks from "Fables of the Reconstruction" ("Maps and Legends", "Drive 8", "Auctioneer" and "Kohoutek"), and even the band's first EP "Chronic Town (1982) is covered by 3 tracks here: "1,000,000", "Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)", and the last track on this album (and also closing track on the EP), a beautiful "Gardening At Night".Read more ›
Do you love this band? Like them? Did you look at the track list? Then I assume you have bought this. If not I can only offer a few comments to urge you to do so.
Rehearsals or whatever, this comes across as a concert. Another review noted the compression of the recording, but it is to my ears not that bad (at least compared to the majority of other live releases of late). For the most part, the instruments are quite clear and the overall sound very good. Here and there it does seem too loud. But I 100% forgive this for the quality of this performance and the songs.
The band is inspired. Michael is in fine form and is fairly chatty. He has a couple of hilarious moments ("Thank you search engine..." made me laugh out loud). The lyrics are clear. Buck is fantastic as always. Mills is his usual demon on bass but what this recording reminded me is how great his backing vocals are. He kind of circles around Stipe which really fills out the songs. The drumming is fine, and the second guitarist (who I cannot always find in the mix) does fill things out when present.
The band seems very relaxed and is clearly having fun (listen to the on stage banter) despite all Stipe's claims that they are terrified. There is an urgency in the performance. If these were rehearsals, they seem intent to bring their "A game" and just nail the songs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the 2 cds are great, however the DVD is not that great, The DVD is to arthouse for me.Published 9 days ago by P. J. Pegrum
I am an REM fan, the band is so unique, but if you want live REM this stadium concert is not nearly as good as REM UnpluggedPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
R.E.M. was once my favorite band. I grew and they grew and we grew apart and while I still liked them, I didn't love them anymore. Read morePublished 21 months ago by A. Adair
This is a GREAT album but the accompanying DVD is not that good. Not your standard concert DVD. Blair Witch style camera work.Published on May 29, 2014 by Douglas Collins
I was never fortunate enough to see REM in person so I am always on the lookout for that live sound whether it's CDs or DVDs. This performance is outstanding to say the least! Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Melissa C. Jurgensen