20 August 1999 - The World, Chicago, IL

By John (aka Guy Incognito)

First off, the arena, which apparently has a very bad rap, was fine with me. The acoustics weren't perfect, but traffic was not bad at all in or out and the concessions and general meeting area were open and fresh. Perhaps I'm used to baseball stadiums and the like, because whenever I see a show at an ampitheater, I like it.

REM kicked it off with Lotus, to which the stage lit up like a firecracker, it was an excellent sight. I have never seen a stage that was so basic, and yet so fresh. The Monster tour, with the movie screen was pretty cool as well, but I enjoyed this carnival atmosphere provided by all the neon lights and different signs. I was in the second section, to the right of the stage, decent seats, but not so close that I could view, intimately, all the happenings of the band. It didn't add to the show, but it most cetainly didn't detract either.

I have seen REM play five times before this(one Green tour and four Monster shows) and the Nassau Collesium(sic) in last September still remains as one of the top five concerts in my history. This show was not as good as that, but it was pretty awesome nevertheless. The band could play any variety of songs and I would enjoy the show. I do think they did a good job getting the audience fired up and then appropriately slowed it down with some of the finer slow tunes. I like a concert and band with range, and REM(and Pearl Jam) have patented(I'm sure people will complain, but I'm 26, and those two bands have been with me for 14 and 8 years respectively) such shows. Find The River was a excellent surprise.

It did appear that the audience didn't know Up that well, but the Automatic, Monster, and New Adventures in Hi Fi songs were well known. This could be because it has been a long while since the band has toured and becaues of that, not many people, except for the rabid fans(me being one of them) would know the most recent new songs. Up is a fantastic album, with amazing range and Mr. Stipe's typical lyrical vaguness that makes REM songs mean so much to so many different people.

The performance of Man On the Moon was truly amazing, to close the first set. I think that is one of their finest songs to play live, because it does get the audience on their feet. Some say that it's overplayed and a fan favorite and that bothers certain fans. I don't agree. I have heard that song at least a 1,000 times and everytime I hear it live, it puts a jolt in my spine and a smile on my face.

The encore was amazing. Why Not Smile and Hope with Stipe on guitar playing acoustic was enthralling. And nice segue from songs made it all the more interesting. Again, should an attendee not know Up, this move would not have been noticed or appreciated. Tongue was good, but I would have preferred Strange Currencies instead but I can't complain about Tongue, it's a great song and the disco ball lights still look great four years lager. Cuyahoga and End Of the World were great. End of the World is such a great finish to a show, REM must be psyched that they will be playing that song well into their future to close their concerts.

Thanks for listening.


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