8 July 1999 - Staatsoper, Vienna, Austria

By Dieter Köhsler

When we first heard that REM are playing in the famous Vienna Opera House we went crazy, but there are only 1.500 seats and so getting a ticket was like winning in the lotterie. I was so lucky to get 2 and so I saw my first ever concert not on the floor but in a box (there are 6 seats in one box). Patti Smith opened the evening and seemed to enjoy her set a lot - you must have seen a sold-out opera house going crazy and she saw it. It took some songs to warm up the audience but at the end of the show everone in the house was enthusiastic.

REM opened the show at 9pm with "Lotus", followed by "New test leper" and "Electrolite".The Opera-staff had quite silly instructions: When just a few fans stood up they told them to sit down - only when the whole place stood up, it was OK - but Mike told them that at a REM-Show the people can do what they want and so this problem was solved. The audience was dancing and shaking and enjoyed the show a lot - my personal favorite was "Country feedback". Some surprises were "How the west was won..." and "Parakeet". Great versions of the new songs: "Daysleeper", "Suspicion", "At my most beautiful" and with an acapella intro beginning "Walk unafraid". "The one I love" was just brilliant. Mike seemed to have fun cause he was joking between the songs and communicating with the audience. Example: A cry from a upper box: "Fall on me" - and he answered looking up to the box: "No - please don't do that".

The typical closer for the regular part "Man on the moon" left a cheering and for minutes rythmical clapping audience waiting for more to come.

Telling us that he tried that song three times so far and always failed to manage it Mike sang "Black Boys on Moped - I`m not over you" as solo-part. A fine "Half a world" and a jazzy "Tongue" closed the encore part one.

For the secont part Patti Smith came out to perform "E-Bow the letter" with Mike and after this the whole Patti Smith Band came out for a killer Jam-Session playing the P.S.-Hit: "Pepole have the power". And just when everybody thought this couldn't be topped an incredible "It's the end of the world..." in a 10minute version was the last song of an unforgettable evening. Mike gave his micro for minutes in the audience, letting them sing the refrain on and on.

The only negative point of the evening was that a lot of "real" REM-Fans couldn`t get tickets and I saw people who just looked bored and didn't clap after the songs - I do not know how and why these people bought the tickets cause they costed up to $ 65,-- which is not cheap for a rock concert. But the "King of Comedy" was in our box: He arrived after the second song with his girlfriend, then stayed for about 7 or 8 songs, and then left - 2 tickets some fans would have killed for and this a..ho.. just acted like he was seeing a bad movie on TV.

Other songs played a didn't mention so far: Part of "Suspicious minds", "Sweetness follows", "Why not smile", "Losing my religion" a new one - i think "The great beyond" "Find the river" and "Everybody hurts". A hope I have the chance to see REM again in the future - this was my second concert after the "Monster-Tour" in 1995 and want to greet all REM-Fans.

Back to the 1999 concert setlists