I take it all back.
My entire review of Accelerate, that is.
R.E.M., as previously mentioned, has been both my teen-obsession and later my default favorite band- my only feasible opportunities to see them live have occurred in the 'default' era, and I've managed to miss them for some damned reason or another for the last ten-fifteen years. Yet through a series of serendipitious events last week I made it to their kickoff world tour show in Burnaby, British Columbia, on Friday.
They're my active favorite band again. I understand, as one only can through a live music experience, where the Accelerate tracks come from now, and- this also happened at a Leonard Cohen show the previous week- in the live show I finally understood songs that I've heard 500 times yet always eluded me. Among them 'Second Guessing' and 'Time After Time' from Reckoning (!!!)-- I happened to be wearing a girlfriend-made, custom Reckoning cover art t-shirt at the show, but I doubt this had anything to do with it... or did it? Michael Stipe made a point of declaring that he could see each and every one of us in the first few rows- and you'd better believe I was nowhere else but in those first three rows-
If you're a fan, or even a lapsed fan, make a point of seeing them if you're able. It appears that they've never been happier to be playing live. It's contagious.