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July 17, 2005 


In order to stop me spending all day reading Harry Potter yesterday, Pete cunningly took me to Croydon for lunch, then on to West Wickham for a barbeque and up to Hyde Park to see the incomparable REM. It worked - I've had to work pretty hard at reading it this morning to catch up!

However, REM last night were, well, incomparable. They have no need for the kind of pyrotechnics other bands indulge in, and the simple light show complemented the set very well. I was a little disappointed they didn't play a couple of my favourites, but when your back catalogue is in the hundreds I guess that's the way it goes! They did play The Great Beyond (or as I like to call it, the one with the elephant pushed up the stairs) and many other cracking tunes. Patti Smith came on stage, but gave the impression of having no idea why she was there, and Michael Stipe had to whisper the words into her ear. Other than that, there was no glitch at all with the music!

Electron Blue

My only complaint would be that either REM or Hyde Park had decreed a "gold area" close to the stage. I don't know how much money those tickets cost, but considering ours were £35 face value I can't imagine that they'd be cheap. I don't have any objection to this per-se, and I've seen it done at other gigs where the first people in get wrist bands for the front area. I'm guessing in that case it was partially to do with health and safety. However, yesterday evening it just served to cause an atmosphere cut off. We were closer to the band than we were at Marlay Park, but the atmosphere wasn't as good. There was no feedback from the people in front of the stage to the rest of the crowd, and although we were only about 5-10 people back from the barrier there wasn't the kind of frenzied activity you'd expect there.

That being said, it was a great gig :-)