Live Reviews

R.E.M.’s ‘Chronic Town’ Celebrated

Live Review: R.E.M.’s 40th Anniversary of Chronic Town Celebration Concert (Various Artists) at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta, 12/15/22

Nostalgia be damned, R.E.M. is one of America’s greatest rock bands, and musicians arrived from all corners to celebrate their debut EP Chronic Town (I.R.S. Records) 40 years later. The concept was originally conceived by Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, who grew up in the Atlanta area. The two-night celebration was a one-off thing, with the show taking place at the famed 40 Watt Club in Athens on Wednesday, and night two hitting Atlanta the next evening.

The five-song EP Chronic Town was R.E.M.’s debut, released on August 24, 1982. This date marked the introduction of something completely different, changing the American music landscape forever. The band soon became college rock architects and icons. Mitch Easter – who that same year formed his band Let’s Active – produced the album, going on (with Don Dixon) to produce R.E.M.’s next two releases, 1983’s Murmur and 1984’s Reckoning.

Fast forward to December 15 2022, and accolades aplenty. As seen on the set list below, many local and national artists paid homage to one of their collective inspirations in R.E.M. Even half the band was there: Mike Mills and Peter Buck joined in to make it an authentic occasion. Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish), Kevn Kinney (Drivn ‘n’ Cryn), Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), The Baseball Project (Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, Mike Mills), David Ryan Harris, SNL and Portlandia’s Fred Armison, Mitch Easter, John Cameron Mitchell, Elf Power, members of Athens’ Pylon, and Puddles the Clown all put on their best R.E.M. personas with excellent covers all night.

“The One I Love” with Chris Robinson, Mike Mills, Peter Buck

The two-night extravaganza raised over $100,000 for Planned Parenthood. It was a night of singalongs as the talented artists plowed through hits and deeper cuts from the three decades of R.E.M. albums. It’s not too late to become (like me) a lifelong fan of R.E.M. Check out their website and/or the entire show.

#SupportMusicians #PlannedParenthood #remforever

Categories: Live Reviews

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