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Welcome to the Occupation.

So, in their first stop since Dubya Day, REM played the Garden last night. A good show, and they played my favorites from the new album (“Boy in the Well,” “High-Speed Train,” “The Outsiders”) But there was obviously a very strange and subdued vibe to the proceedings. Angela McCluskey, the opening act, struck an appropriately funereal tone with a swelling rendition of The The’s “Love is Stronger than Death.” And Stipe, for his part, seemed as staggered as most of the crowd, and barely spoke at all — (not that it much mattered…85% of the people there seemed to be waiting for “Losing My Religion” the whole time anyway.) All in all, I enjoyed last year’s stop more, but obviously those were happier times for both the band and the nation. Setlist below:

REM at MSG, W2+1:

1. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine.) [Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with current events…]
2. Begin the Begin
3. So Fast, So Numb
4. Animal
5. Boy in the Well “This song takes place in Tennessee.”
6. Welcome to the Occupation
7.The Outsiders
8. Get Up!
9. High-Speed Train
10. Cuyahoga “This song takes place in Ohio.” [BOO.]
11. Sweetness Follows
12. The One I Love
13. I Wanted to Be Wrong “This is our State of the Union.”
14. Imitation of Life “This was a #1 single in Japan.”
15. Final Straw
16. Losing My Religion “I don’t know what to say tonight, so I’ve tried to say as little as I could and let the songs speak for themselves. There’s something about a well-constructed pop song…”
17. Walk Unafraid
18. Life and How to Live It

E1. What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?
E2. Drive
E3. Leaving New York “This song takes place in NYC.”
E4. Electrolite “This song takes place in LA.”
E5. Permanent Vacation (w/ Steve Wynn) “We’re REM, and this is what we do.”
E6. I’m Gonna DJ
E7. Man on the Moon “This song belongs to you.”

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