Friday, 14 January 2011
136 REM, Throwing Muses, London Wembley Arena, Thursday 22 June 1989
Had a mini-break in London with Veronica, centred around this gig, so we took the tube to get over to this venerable old aircraft hanger venue, meeting up with some Swindon day-trippers when they eventually turned up, at the end of the Throwing Muses support set! The Muses had taken the stage in front of a half-full Wembley venue (which probably still constituted the biggest audience they'd played in front of!), and despite their best efforts, were fighting a losing cause with the majority. They went down well enough, certainly gave of their maverick, effervescent best - "Vicky's Box" particularly being a marvel - but only a small smattering of Muses aficionados such as myself really appreciated their brilliance.
Everyone else here was well up for REM, and they were not to be disappointed; the headliners (probably also playing to their biggest ever crowd to date, following their sold-out theatre level "Green" tour) took the arena by storm, from the opening heavy riff of "Finest Worksong" to the touching closing ballad of "Perfect Circle". A rejigged set featuring a glowing "You Are The Everything", and a titanic "Cuyahoga", the mighty hookline resonating around the auditorium, one of the best numbers I'd seen them play over the recent 3 gigs.
Mighty, powerful, awesome and awe-inspiring, I left convinced that right now, on this form, REM are the finest "live" rock band on this planet. But honestly, on tonight's evidence, they've also got some serious opposition from Throwing Muses!