Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

REM in Hull

I saw REM for the second time last night. What a lovely evening it was in Hull too... A typical British summer's evening. I'm sure Demi and Wanyu will have fond memories of that place! Especially of Lidl (where we pretended to buy beansprouts) and the pub where they don't serve meals. What a place Hull is!! I wonder what a band like REM would think of a northern English town. Must be completely different from Athens, Georgia... So, anyway, the concert. Of course REM are amazing (to me, anyway) and I'll always remember my days as a teenager listening to them non-stop. But for some reason seeing them yesterday wasn't as special to me as when I saw them for the first time in London. I guess the mystery had already been taken away. I also felt like they were doing this huge tour, but it was very impersonal (Stipe didn't even speak to the audience until about five songs in). Kind of another place to cross off the list for them. Maybe after seeing Rufus W in such an intimate place (GOH), and then to see a major rock band in a football stadium, of course it will feel different.

They opened with Bad Day. Although a recent song, it is actually one of their best songs. Fran, you know that!! I wish you had been there with me to shout out the lyrics!! Like we did when we had bad days in Japan!! They played a lot of crowd-pleasers like Everybody Hurts, The One I Love, Man on the Moon, Losing My Religion, but too many of their new songs from the new album that I don't like very much. And the rain!! Oh the rain!! The three of us were drenched even before we entered the stadium! We did buy some very fetching rain coats though (which I wanted to keep, but the other two just told me to throw away...) Michael Stipe made a comment along the lines of: "If it had to rain today to be nice for last Saturday (Live 8), then so be it". I agree. It was much more important for the weather to have been sunny on Saturday. I was pleased though that they played a few of the very old ones, like Seven Chinese Brothers, Pilgramage, Welcome To The Occupation, and Orange Crush. The rain managed to hold off for the most part, and even when it did fling it down, it added to the atmosphere... especially during the climax at the end of Everybody Hurts. Perfect timing!

What I like about Stipe is his politics, and the fact that he is not afraid to let his opinions known. Final Straw is a song which criticises the Bush administration, and I think the words are very important:

Who died and lifted you up to perfection?
And what silenced me is written into law.

I can't believe where circumstance has thrown me
And I turn my head away
If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
Not again. not today. not today.

If hatred makes a play on me tomorrow
And forgiveness takes a back seat to revenge
There's a hurt down deep that has not been corrected.
There's a voice in me that says you will not win.

And if I ignore the voice inside,
Raise a half glass to my home.
But it's there that I am most afraid,
And forgetting doesn't hold. it doesn't hold.

Now I don't believe and I never did
That two wrongs make a right.
If the world were filled with the likes of you
Then I'm putting up a fight. I'm putting up a fight.
Putting up a fight. make it right. make it right.

Now love cannot be called into question.
Forgiveness is the only hope I hold.
And love- love will be my strongest weapon.
I do believe that I am not alone.

For this fear will not destroy me.
And the tears that have been shed
It's knowing now where I am weakest
And the voice in my head. in my head.

Then I raise my voice up higher
And I look you in the eye
And I offer love with one condition.
With conviction, tell me why.
Tell me why.
Tell me why.
Look me in the eye.
Tell me why.

But, even if I was a little disappointed, and got drenched to the bone, and missed Idlewild (sorry, Demi), I'm so glad I saw them, and I hope I will do again.


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