19 July 1999 -Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland

By Nicky and Lynne Doherty

After spending the best part of the afternoon in a pub at the foot of the castle, we arrived at the castle just before 21:00: The doors were open at 18:30. Luckily REM were not yet on stage.

We didn't have to wait long. Just before REM came onstage Airportman was played raising our expectation levels. Then they appeared. The opening number; Lotus had us bouncing, fuelled by Black Bottle Whisky, this continued for the next 2 songs.

Michael announced that he has not been "this cold since February". Ok so it was overcast but I was dressed in jeans and t-shirt although Lynne had a jacket. Mind you most others had rain jackets. Having been as far south as Charleston S.C. in the USA we can appreciate that it probably was as cold for him as, Charleston was too hot for us. But we live in Thurso (at the very top of Scotland), which is 250 miles north of Stirling, so it wasn't that cold for us.

Suspicion was suspicious, but it gave us a chance to get our breath back. Daysleeper seemed a crowd favourite. Personally, we are still getting accustomed to UP.

Then a mixture of old favourites and new. The new stuff wasn't appreciated generally as much as the old stuff. The end of the set, from, The One I Love , was REM at there brilliant best. Having seen them at Murrayfield the last time they toured, this was 10 times better. Maybe it was the smaller venue? Musically they sounded better.

Between Losing My Religion / Pop Song 89 Michael was talking about time and making a reference to Mel Gibson. He has obviously seen the film, Braveheart. The crowd started to sing O Flower of Scotland, but REM quickly launched into Pop Song 89, which was a shame. REM never seem to interact with audience: At one point a hat was thrown on stage and someone shouted to Michael to pick up the hat but he replied, "no, I have got a show to do". It would have been nice if Michael had mentioned that Scotland now has its own Parliament. Maybe Hollywood might one day make a film...

The set was rounded off superbly with Man on the Moon. Everybody was dancing and singing along. Man on the Moon has got to be our favourite REM song.

And so the encore.

What was Michael doing at the start of the encore? He was solo, with a guitar strumming out a couple of chords. He was terrible!! During Hope he tried to get the crowd to sing along.

" you're looking like an idiot and you no longer care. and you want to bridge the schism, a built-in mechanism to protect you"

Nobody seemed to take him on. Who is this guy on stage? Where have REM gone? Was the questions that seemed to be on everybody's lips. When eventually the crowd got a grip of it, he stopped. There is always "Hope" he said. Maybe that is why he tried a solo on that particular song. Hope rains eternal.

We have "no worries" over Michael leaving REM to pursue an acoustic solo career.

By this time the "sma rain" (It is like drizzle except you get soaked right through.) was coming down. Why Not Smile was good and we did smile.

Crush With Eyeliner was REM at their powerful best. She's a sad tomato... and Tongue had us all worried. Although this time, thankfully there was no strobe, which really does do your head in!

Fall On Me was rousing, although people around us didn't seem to know it. It's certainly a favourite of ours.

"this song pre dates time, it even pre dates Mel Gibson" was how Michael announced the final song of the gig, and what a finale it was: It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) has got to be THE song to end any gig. Absolutely brilliant. No other words can describe it.

And so it is the end, just time to get a quick refreshment and retire happy and content at having seen REM once again.

Until the next time.

Back to the 1999 concert setlists