I originally started this site in June 1997 as a way of avoiding studying for University exams (you'll be amazed at what you can do!). My inspiration came from the Pearl Jam site Five Horizons who list a similar concert chronology to mine for Pearl Jam shows. I looked at amazement at that site and thought 'R.E.M. have been around for far longer than Pearl Jam, it's about time someone did one for them as well', and with plenty of time to avoid studying, so it began.
I started off by listing all the dates the book REMnants had published that R.E.M. had played since 1980. I then added setlists to the shows that I either had on tape, had seen listed on peoples tape lists or those for which bootlegs were available. Typing in each date manually took many many hours, given that R.E.M. have played hundreds and hundreds of shows over the years (by the time I got to the 90's I was glad they stopped touring!). Once I completed this, I uploaded it to my web site, tried to promote it a bit through various other popular web sites and sat back and waited for any comments.
It was slow to begin with, but word slowly spread about my site, and pretty soon a guy by the name of Rob Rabe (Hi Rob if you're out there!) began emailing me with a huge amount of setlists that I didn't have on my site. Rob has hundreds of live shows, and very kindly typed out the setlists for each and every one I didn't have listed. This took some months, but by the end my setlists were a lot larger!
More and more people began visiting the site, and I received a lot of help from many many people who had either been to a show that I didn't have a setlist for, or had a tape of it. I don't think it would be fair to single out any one person, so I'll just say thankyou to everyone who has helped me out so far, whether it be a venue correction, or a setlist I didn't have, I couldn't have come this far without you! What I've found amazing is people who saw them play back in the 1981-82 era have been able to provide me with a lot of info about this period and even give me a list of dates that weren't listed anywhere before.
My 15 minutes of fame came in March 2000 when Australian radio station Triple J featured a 3 hour special on R.E.M. for their 20th anniversary, and its presenter Richard Kingsmill interviewed me live on the radio about my site. It was very nervewracking, but I got to request the live version of Time After Time etc. from the 14 September 1987 Utrecht show (found on the IRS Years edition of Document), so it was worthwhile! I've recently gotten around to converting my old cassette tape I recorded into an mp3. You can listen to it here.
I've had over 100,000 hits since I moved this site to its current location in June 1998, an amazing amount for someone who started this as a way to avoid studying! I originally envisaged a site more like Five Horizons, with news, photos and even mp3 versions of rare and unusual songs performed over the years, but it was just too time consuming, so this was as far as I got. I've received many complimentary emails about my site - I always love feedback about my site and the nice comments people have, it's great to know people out there find it useful! I know I haven't used fancy html or flash graphics, but I like the plain and simple approach :) If you want searchable databases then head on over to The REM Chronicle for all your needs.
I am aware the R.E.M. office knows about my site. Bertis Downs has made mention of my site on the official R.E.M. site, and he also recently mentioned my website in an interview for the 25th anniversary reissue of Lifes Rich Pageant which you can find here. While I have never been contacted by the R.E.M. office, I have been fortunate enough to meet all the band (except Bill) and seen them live 9 times. I hope they enjoy looking back at what they used to get up to all those years ago from time to time!
I'll continue to update the site as long as I receive new info from people, who knows hopefully one day I'll have a setlist for every single R.E.M. show performed (unlikely but you can only hope!)
- Darryl, July 2011
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