13 March 2007

Will You Still Love Me?

If I tell you I cried throughout R.E.M.’s induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?

When I heard Eddie Vedder had the honor of inducting R.E.M., I thought “meh.” Why Eddie? But who would be better? Kurt Cobain’s dead. Anyway …

Eddie Vedder’s speech was amazing. He said the things I feel. He was funny … he teased at the right spots … and he said a lot of beautiful, heartfelt things. I’m going to look for a transcript (or a YouTube clip) and post it later this week.

R.E.M.’s performance was very good. As expected, they opened with “Begin the Begin,” probably their best rock song. Very good, and it was great again to see Bill Berry back on the drums. Very similar to the Georgia induction performance, but you just can’t get enough of “Begin the Begin.”

Then one for us old fans: “Gardening at Night.” I threw back the rug and danced like it was 1983 again, spinning and spinning to every “couldn’t be arranged” (I always loved how Michael stretches “arranged” into three beats; perfect for spins). The last ten days have been horrible in my world — personally, professionally, romantically — so that dance was a much-needed lift.

I was hoping for the set to close with “Radio Free Europe,” but they needed a Warner Brothers-era tune and ended with “Man on the Moon” (don’t get me wrong; I love the song, but was hoping for something new). They did a good job, but it was exactly like every live version I’ve heard for the last several years. I do enjoy it when Michael yells and stretched out the “coo-wall!”

Don’t get me wrong; I loved seeing the boys perform tonight. It just seems that every show I’ve seen since at least 1999 has opened with “Begin the Begin” and closed with “Man on the Moon” (if not “It’s the End …”). I just wanted another surprise, I guess. But they were great. And Michael's suit was sublime.

And then. Oh, and then. The reason I stayed up, that amazing aural surprise: R.E.M. and Patti Smith together on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Patti and Michael were sexy as hell as they shared the mic and snarled the chorus. And how orgasmic was it to see Peter Buck and Lenny Kaye (who’s still so damn cute) and Mike Mills and Scott McCaughey playing together? Brilliant. These are the moments I live for.

That crap about Clapton being God? So not true; I think that’s fellow inductee’s Patti Smith’s job. She f*cking kicked ass during her set, ripping through “Gimme Shelter” — with Keith Richards in the house. Is there any other woman who could pull off that cover? Maybe Chrissie Hynde; probably just Patti. F*cking amazing.

The show closer? “People Have the Power.” (In that something-new-learned category, I found out that Fred “Sonic” Smith wrote the tune; I always assumed Patti did.) Patti, Michael, Eddie Vedder, Ronnie Spector, and Sammy Hagar (yawn) sharing the vocals — Peter and Lenny and Scott and Mike, with Keith Richards, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the rest of the Ronettes … well, it was remarkable.

Biggest disappointment of the night? To discover that Keith Richards is about Michael Stipe's height. I always thought he was taller. What can I say? I'm a sucker for tall. (Note to Keith: Get rid of the 'stache.)

Most fun moment? When Peter Buck tossed the amp at the end of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." And I think he had a damn good time doing it. Peter's cool. But you knew that.

If you didn’t catch the live broadcast of the induction ceremony, VH1 Classics is running it again Friday night, and VH1 will show it Saturday night.

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At 3/13/2007 02:52:00 AM, Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Beth, sorry to read you've gone through one of those periods when everything is horrible on all fronts. Those spots are always tough to get through, although I've always found the right music does help.

At 3/13/2007 05:08:00 AM, Blogger Scrivener said...

Yep, still love ya.

At 3/13/2007 07:29:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

Ah, the price of fame and longevity. At affairs such as these, folk want reprises. A fan such a you is a rare jewel indeed!

At 3/13/2007 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

I still love ya!

At 3/13/2007 09:26:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Well, if Ol' Keef gets dissed for lack of height, then I'd have hated to hear what you'd have said about me!!!

I mean, if nearly 50 years of cranking out the most distinctive guitar riffs in history ain't enough to overcome being under 6' tall...

At 3/13/2007 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

WANDERING AUTHOR: The right music — which, for me, is almost always by R.E.M. — always pulls me from the depths. Watch for next Tuesday's album post.

SCRIVENER: Ah, shucks ... and back at ya.

OLD LADY: I just wanted a little "Radio Free Europe." The song has an extra-special significance for me this year. You can kick my whiny butt.

MARNI: Even though you have to, I'm glad you do.

HAAHNSTER: I always thought my beloved Keef was eight feet tall. He should tower over Peter Buck ... and get rid of that silly 'stache. Keef had the best stage entrance of the night, BTW.

At 3/13/2007 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

Ah-- Gardening At Night. It was the first REM song I ever heard, and it brings me right back to that time in my life-- 1983/84. I'll probably try to catch one of the weekend replays.

At 3/13/2007 07:51:00 PM, Blogger bigshoulders said...

Hey Beth:
relive it here, and you can click directly to the song and dance, too!


I've been rocking out to this today, and like you, I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I heard EV was doing the inducting, but I thought he was great. His whole theory behind Bill's aneurysm being caused by Mike's orange suit was pretty hilarious.

Hope things start looking up for you soon, Beth.


At 3/14/2007 05:36:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Sounds like a good show and although we don't get VH1, they may run it on another of our music channels here. Glad you enjoyed it so much Beth.

At 3/14/2007 06:37:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I still need to see this. I love "Begin the Begin."

At 3/14/2007 07:21:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

JOHNNY YEN: The show is definitely worth watching for or TiVOing. Be sure to dance to "Gardening at Night" for me.

BIG SHOULDERS: THANKS! for the link. I'm going to watch it again tonight. I'm still laughing over Eddie's comment about Mike's nudie suit causing Bill's aneurysm. (And thanks for the kind words.)

DALE: Check the AOL link in the comment above.

GRANT MILLER: And they do "Begin the Begin" so well live; you can tell Peter Buck really enjoys playing it.

At 3/15/2007 05:23:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

what a fantastic show! i am so happy that this honor for rem made you so happy. i can guarantee that your love for this band equals eddie vedder's....

At 3/17/2007 09:45:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Done. Loved Eddie Vedder's speech and am thankful that Peter Buck didn't make airplane arms while he sucked back that wine during the thank yous. :-)

At 3/18/2007 12:26:00 AM, Anonymous breny said...

I haven't watched the Hall of Fame induction yet. I'll record it and watch it sometime this week.

Speaking of R.E.M., I was flying from Seattle to Atlanta at the end of January and Peter Buck was sitting 2 rows in front of me on the opposite side. I was so jealous of his seatmate because he was so chatty during the entire flight. I was going to congratulate him on their selection for the HOF but, alas, he left the plane before me and I didn't see him again.

I'm so proud of them. Georgia bands ROCK!

At 3/18/2007 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Old Lady said...

No, I'm with you. I like the non-mainstream songs as well. When a person listens to a whole lp or cd they get to like other songs that are sometimes better than the Top 40's. You are a rare a precious fan for this group.

At 3/21/2007 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous HoorayForSaturday said...

I was so happy to hear "Gardening At Night", but was hoping to hear other tunes besides "Begin" & "Moon", been there, done that.
Here was my wish list of what I would have loved to heard them play.
"Gardening At Night" got it!
"Pretty Persuasion"
"Turn You Inside-Out"
"Try Not To Breathe"

I also figured they would play "Losing My Religion" for sure.


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