Video: Early R.E.M. rocks Atlanta

by Jim McGuinn

R.E.M. at the 688 in Atlanta, GA opening for Joe 'King' Carrasco. The date would either be February 20 or 21, 1981. (MrLettuce/YouTube)

Recently posted to the glorious YouTube, this is a video of a VERY early set by R.E.M. from February of 1981, a full 18 months before the release of their Chronic Town EP.

With a mix of frantic covers and embryonic originals, it's a great glimpse into the very beginnings of one of our favorite bands. Worth the click just to catch the opening song -- a cover of Buddy Holly's "Rave On!"

Set List

0:00 (cuts in) Rave On
01:37 Burning Down
05:43 Dangerous Times
08:17 I Don't Want You Anymore
13:00 Get on Their Way
15:54 Different Girl
19:25 Permanent Vacation
21:44 White Tornado
23:53 Narrator
27:00 Wind Out
28:45 Gardening at Night
32:36 Mystery to Me
34:36 Radio Free Europe

Also for R.E.M. fans, they will be the featured artist this week on Teenage Kicks, but with a twist.

Since it's pretty much impossible to pick 4 random songs from a band with as much great music as R.E.M., this week we're going to highlight 4 of their covers, followed by other songs by the artists they covered. So we'll hear R.E.M. covering the Velvet Underground, then another song by the Velvet Underground. Get it? Might be the only time we'll play two songs by Pylon on the Current back to back... Tune in Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 a.m. for Teenage Kicks.