26 June 1999 - Arena, Oberhausen, Germany

By Christian Jehke and Katrin

A great 27 songs, and the band were enjoying themselves immensely on stage. Not quite sure about the song order from "Driver 8" up to "At my most beautiful". Sweetness follows was preceded by Michael quoting "I believe that time is an abstract" from "I believe". The passenger was inserted due to sheer fun of playing, same with "Why not smile", performed with Michael alone accompanied by Mike on acoustic guitar. He had his hand on Mikeīs shoulders throughout the whole song.

The Oberhausen Arena has a capacity of 12,000 people and the place seemed to be packed, although for some reasons the only admitted 2,700 people to the standing area int he middle of the arena, which annoyed a lot of people, and throughout the whole evening people were trying to find their way past the security from the overcrowded stands to the standing place. Wilco were received very well and played well, but only performed for half an hour. Suede did a good job warming up the audience and made an impressive impact on the crowd, although my girlfriend disagrees. Their setlist was:

Canīt get enough
Everything will flow
The beautiful ones
Elephant man
Saturday night
Animal nitrate
She's in fashion

The pre-show music of REM included:
New Order - True Faith
EMF - Unbelievable
Jesus Jones - Real, real, real
Primal Scream - Loaded
The Chemical Brothers - Leave home

after which the house lights dimmed and the familiar sounds of "Airportman" sounded through the arena. REM crashed into Lotus, and it soon became apparent that this was to be their evening. The main advantage of the concert being moved from the stadium due to bad ticket sales was that only the die-hards were there and the audience (surprisingly young!) consisted mainly of real fans who were immensely grateful of seeing REM and were used to the older songs. Wake-up bomb and So fast, so numb rocked, before Sitting still brought the crowd to a frenzy.

Sitting still was a bit negligently played, the speed varying throughout the song, but never mind, they havenīt performed this song in a long time and they are allowed to play it worse than Losing my religion. I donīt like Suspicion very much, but here it really moved me. The version was much more guitar-orientated than on the record. And then came... "Fall on me", and all my wishes came true. It was excellently played, the audience loved it and I was so moved that I nearly cried.

Afterwards Michael stepped up to the front and told the audience that he was feeling as lot of energy "coming from you guys, which is a great thing". The audience didnīt know where to put their enthusiams. Driver 8, another one of these old favourites I never expected to hear at an REM concert again was dedicated to Wilco. The One I love was ONE CELEBRATION. Afterwards Michael said that they broke the speed record for a "One I love" performance at this concert and that it could only happen here. Sweetness follows was moving and went down well with the audience, who sang along audibly. I was generally amazed at how well the "Up" songs were received. "Daysleeper" was SO well received with people waving lighters and their hands throughout the whole song. The great beyond was a very UP-style song, not very catchy, but when one heard the chorus several times, it began to grow. Nothing much to say about Losing and At my most beautiful, it was heaven. Find the river was beautiful, thatīs the only word for it. The ending rocked, the tried and tested hits didnīt fail to make an impact on the crowd.

For the encore Michael came out alone to sing Iīm not over you, and when the audience clapped along en masse, he speedened up the song to get the audience clapping faster, and the he slowed it down again. Nice work. Then Mike (red dress) joined him on acoustic guitar for Why not smile, which had the audience still as a mouse. Kenneth and Crush rocked, while Tongue was introduced as a song with "tits". Michael started to open his shirt, and the audience whistled, encouraging him to go on. He looked at us in mock-outrage and said "Thereīs an certain dividing line between entertainment and entertainment. Letīs make sure you know what the difference is!" or sth. in that style. And then he proceeded taking off his shirt!!! I love this band.

"Cuyahoga" was nicely played, and even this relatively unknown song caused mass hysteria. Then they looked at each other and Mike encouraged Peter to enter into the familiar chords of the Passenger. It was the full song, with three "Lalala" parts. It certainly pleased the audience. They went directly into "End of the world" afterwards. Michael started too early with the "the other night"-verse, the whole band stopped playing, and they started again, to get the "Leonard Bernstein" and "Right?" effect. They did the a capella break towards the end, which I donīt remember from the Monster tour.

The concert was 130 minutes long, and it certainly was one of those nights where everything is perfect. The band, the audience, it was unforgettable.

Back to the 1999 concert setlists