R.E.M. will release a brand-new double live album, entitled R.E.M. Live At The Olympia on October 27th, 2009 on Warner Bros. Records. The two-CD set, produced by Jacknife Lee, features 39 songs that capture the best moments from the band’s “working rehearsals” at Dublin’s fabled Olympia club during which singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills tested out new songs for R.E.M.’s 2008 studio album Accelerate.
Live At The Olympia ventures back to July 2007 when R.E.M. set up camp at the venerable Olympia Theatre in Ireland's capital city and tested new material over five nights before fired-up, capacity crowds comprised of fan-club members, friends, family, and fans from all over the world who were privy to R.E.M.'s so-called “experiment in terror,” as guitarist Peter Buck puts it.
“We were just trying to do something we hadn't done before," Buck says, "which meant there was no relaxing during the set. Every second we were playing something we didn't know all that well. Which was kind of good — there were all kinds of terror elements going on during that show."
Live At The Olympia gives fans that were unable to attend the Irish shows a chance to hear different incarnations of the songs before they were recorded in their final Accelerate versions, such as the singles “Man-Sized Wreath” and an early version of “Supernatural Superserious” under its original title “Disguised.”
As a bonus, the band has included two songs: “On The Fly” and “Staring Down The Barrel Of The Middle Distance,” that were only performed live and were not included on Accelerate. In addition, the package features many early R.E.M. favorites from the band’s albums Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, and Life’s Rich Pageant.
Live At The Olympia will be released in several configurations including a standard double CD, featuring 39 tracks and liner notes by author and music journalist Andy Gill, as well as a CD + DVD, which includes concert and backstage footage shot by noted French filmmakers Vincent Moon and Jeremiah. Moon, who has worked with Arcade Fire, The Shins, and The National, along with Jeremiah, shot all the footage that R.E.M. posted on its various websites connected to Accelerate last year.
Finally, fans will be able to purchase Live At The Olympia digitally from all online service providers beginning October 27th.
The track-listing for R.E.M. Live At The Olympia is as follows:
Living Well Is The Best Revenge / Second Guessing / Letter Never Sent / Staring Down The Barrel of the Middle Distance / Disturbance At The Heron House / Mr. Richards / New Test Leper / Cuyahoga / Electrolite / Man-Sized Wreath / So. Central Rain / On The Fly / Maps And Legends / Sitting Still / Driver 8 / Horse To Water / I’m Gonna DJ / Circus Envy / These Days
Drive / Feeling Gravity’s Pull / Until The Day Is Done / Accelerate / Auctioneer / Little America / 1,000 / Disguised / Worst Joke Ever / Welcome To the Occupation / Carnival of Sorts / Harbor Coat / Wolves Lower / I’ve Been High / Kohoutek / West of the Fields / Pretty Persuasion / Romance / Gardening At Night