Saturday, October 25, 2008

R.E.M. & ME.

REM Box Set
Originally uploaded by jtpuck
Two years ago I was finishing my book at Portfolio Center. My favorite project was a dream packaging assignment I added during my 8th quarter; a 5-disc R.E.M. box set. It turned out really great, especially with some hand screenprinting action from Lonny & Larry. I always meant to send a copy to the band; but for some reason never did.

Cut to October 2008. I used some design award cash to purchase tickets to the R.E.M. show at Nokia Theatre in Dallas. My first concert in 5 years, which also was an R.E.M. show in The Woodlands, so I figured now was as good a time as any. So last week, I popped a set in the mail, 2-day delivery to the band; actually the Fan Club address was the only option I had. Of course, I had all kinds of fantasies in my head. Maybe I'd get a phone call from the band? Maybe a set of backstage passes would be waiting for me at will call, although my tickets were under my co-worker's name & we printed them out at the office? Who knows, maybe Michael Stipe would have brought the package on set and said how cool he thought it was and maybe asked me to request a song for them to perform.

Well, the show was last night, and we had great seats. First row, just left-of-center, mezzanine, the Southwest Airlines Flight deck. If you ever go to Nokia, these are the seats you want, especially if you can only afford the lowest ticket price point. No, my CD package design did not make an appearance, but the show was still great.

The guys still know how to rock and Stipe seems to be having as much fun as ever these days. He wasn't hiding behind sunglasses or heavy eye make-up and had chatted more with the audience than I've ever seen from one of their LIVE performances. He even threw back a few quips to hecklers & adoring fans in the lower sections. They had an excellent setlist that touched all but 2 studio albums and was pretty heavy in protest songs, which he mentioned had been compiled by lead guitarist, Peter Buck.

Great surprises included "These Days", "Exhuming McCarthy" complete with tape recorded McCarthy speech, "7 Chinese Bros.", and an acoustic performance of "Let Me In", a song originally recorded as an electric-shredding guitar homage to Kurt Cobain. Absolutely amazing, and must be released somewhere, sometime soon. Check out some audience recordings on YouTube.

I do want to thank the band for adding Dallas to this last leg of the tour, and I hope they get to see the box set; my confirmation said it was delivered. |#remdallas|

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