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Live at the Olympia Live

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Oct. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,799 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
  2. Second Guessing
  3. Letter Never Sent
  4. Staring Down The Barrel Of The Middle Distance
  5. Disturbance At The Heron House
  6. Mr. Richards
  7. Houston
  8. New Test Leper
  9. Cuyahoga
  10. Electrolite
  11. Man-Sized Wreath
  12. So. Central Rain
  13. On The Fly
  14. Maps And Legends
  15. Sitting Still
  16. Driver 8
  17. Horse To Water
  18. I'm Gonna DJ
  19. Circus Envy
  20. These Days

Disc: 2

  1. Drive
  2. Feeling Gravitys Pull
  3. Until The Day Is Done
  4. Accelerate
  5. Auctioneer
  6. Little America
  7. "1,000,000"
  8. Disguised
  9. The Worst Joke Ever
  10. Welcome To The Occupation
  11. Carnival Of Sorts [Box Cars]
  12. Harborcoat
  13. "Wolves, Lower"
  14. I've Been High
  15. Kohoutek
  16. West Of The Fields
  17. Pretty Persuasion
  18. Romance
  19. Gardening At Night

Product Description

Product Description

REM Live At The Olympia (2009 UK 2-CD album set featuring 39 songs from their acclaimed 2007 working rehearsals in Dublin Ireland. R.E.M. set up camp at the venerable Olympia Theatre in Irelands capital city and tested new material over fivenights before passionate capacity crowds. Live At The Olympia gives fans an opportunity to hear those songs at their earliest stages of development. In addition to the new material the band also served up twenty-nine other songs spanningtheir entire career all of which can be found on this album picture booklet containing extensive liner notes written by Andy Gill)

BBC Review

Two years ago REM released REM Live, featuring recordings from their performance at Dublin’s Point Theatre in 2005. It was a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin affair: REM, live, on CD (and DVD). Live at the Olympia is more of the same, essentially, even down to the country in question: like its predecessor, this was recorded in Ireland, albeit at the capital’s Olympia Theatre. Again: it’s exactly what it promises to be.

So why bother with another live album, released so soon after the last, and most likely captured before the same crowd? The reason here is purely down to the tracklisting – while REM Live focused on the Athens, Georgia band’s hit singles and best-selling albums, this collection is a partial exhumation of early material, the band delving back as far as their 1982 EP Chronic Town. As such this will serve as an entry point into REM’s expansive pre-Automatic for the People catalogue for many fans – there is only one song from Automatic…, out of 39, but an intentions-signalling five from both second album Reckoning and third Fables of the Reconstruction. There’s even a brace from 83’s debut long-player, Murmur.

In short, this is a celebration of the career of one of the greatest rock groups America has ever produced. It showcases their quality control wonderfully, picking selections from various eras which never seem out of place. While Drive is very much from the well-known camp, as it shakes to a close – via a Michael Stipe lyrical misstep: “Oh whoops!” – and leads to “very old song” Feeling Gravitys Pull, from Fables…, it doesn’t feel like the band has just rewound several years. They’re having too much fun, and there’s never the sense that they’re exposing their roots purely for the sake of it, as the crowd’s enthusiastic reception to relative unknowns is audible evidence of.

The sound quality is, as you’d expect given the band in question, exceptionally crisp, with post-production work coming from Jacknife Lee, on board for REM’s last studio album, 2008’s Accelerate. Eight songs from said collection make the Live at the Olympia cut, performed prior to their release of course, but such is the abundance of 1980s material that this has to be seen as a valuable reminder of REM’s impressive past as much as a document of their present. Think of it as an apposite companion to both their Eponymous and In Time best-of collections. --Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Many, including the band themselves, felt R.E.M. had lost their mojo after 2004's Around The Sun. This was the beginning of their quest to get it back: a five day residency of "rehearsals" at the Dublin Olympia to roadtest new material and, as a reward for the audience (and a test of the band's mettle), a return to old classics rarely played in their typical live sets.

This set features every song played over the residency. It proves an intriguing insite into songs that would end up on Accelerate: the likes of Houston, Living Well Is The Best Revenge and Mr Richards seemed very complete. The merits of Man-Sized Wreath were debated on stage by Stipe and Mills (Stipe: This next new song will not be on the next record. - Ironic as I've heard it's now one of his favourites), Disguised was a very embrionic version of what would become Supernatural Superserious, whereas On The Fly and Staring Down The Barrel Of The Middle Distance never made it to the record (though I thought the latter sounded like it had a lot to offer).

The rest of the set reads like an alternative Best Of collection: Kohoutek (Peter Buck whispers to Stipe beforehand "We should apologise before this, this is going to be a mess"), So. Central Rain , Electrolite and Gardening At Night to name but a few, all sounded excellent. Long forgotten IRS era cutting Romance even got a play. Heck, they did a version of The Worst Joke Ever and even that sounded brilliant (on Around The Sun it just sounded dull).

The real little gems that make this album are the little errors the band make on occasion (hey they warn you from the off "This is not a show!") and the audience interaction.
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Format: Audio CD
This is R.E.M. in excelsis. The songs - and so many songs, 39 in all - roar and purr. Songs last played live in 1984 return to the stage, new songs are born in front of your ears, and this is R.E.M at their most artistically exciting. New songs and old sit together, adding new textures, context, and meaning to each other. And thankfully. R.E.M are free of the weight of expectation to explore.

Over five nights in Dublin, R.E.M broke the mould of playing live to 'roadtest' new material and exhume old, lesser known songs in what they called 'live rehearsals'. Stripped of the stadium moves, huge video screens, and the need to play The Big Hits, R.E.M. Also slimmed down their lineup to the five-man-configuration of the late Eighties, ditched all the big numbers, played songs live for the first time in a quarter century if ever, and premiered eleven new numbers. Featuring every song played over the five shows, "Live At The Olympia" is one of the rarest live albums : it has an artistically valid reason to exist. At 39 songs and 150 minutes it's not for the faint of heart, nor any of you in a hurry. There's no sign of "Man On The Moon", "Losing My Religion", "The Great Beyond", "Whats The Frequency Kenneth", "Imitation Of Life", "The One I Love", "It's The End of The World As We Know It", or "Everybody Hurts".
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Format: Audio CD
Let's start with the double CD collection. 39 songs... it says so on the album cover. These are songs spanning R.E.M.'s entire career, but not ones that casual listeners will be interested in (there's no "The One I Love", "Losing My Religion" or "Everybody Hurts" on here). A large majority of the songs are from the band's I.R.S. career from 1982-1987, back before they were considered mainstream, and many of the other songs are from the band's latest album, the rocky Accelerate, performed as "works in progress" before the record was released. The songs are performed well and sound great, and some are disputably superior to their studio equivalents ("Houston"?). Between songs feature talk by mostly Stipe to the audience explaining the songs and also explaining how "this is not a show... this is a live rehearsal". So the songs on the live rehearsal album are ones only dedicated R.E.M. fans will be familiar with or interested in, which is good for those wanting to hear the band play their oldest songs over 20 years later, but not for casual listeners. Less devoted fans will rather go for 2007's R.E.M. Live, featuring the "hits", which also demonstrates how R.E.M.'s two live albums contain completely different songs, so it's not a case of "if you have one, you have the other".

Secondly, the DVD I thought was going to be basically a live video of the performances, but it's more of an art film and features only a selection of the songs performed; some not in full and others together in a medley. The cameras show little of the band performing and more of the entire venue.
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