MAILBAG: Gardening At Night



As with all your concert reviews, your description of Wednesday night’s R.E.M. show at the Mann made me wish I had been there. It inspired me so much that I decided to try to score a ticket to last night’s show at the Garden. (I live and work in NYC during the week, then go home to mailbag_2.gifmy weekend wife in Lafayette Hill.) I was warned that my seat would be behind the stage, but when I got there I was amazed that it actually was on the SIDE of the stage – only 25 feet from the band! You would’ve enjoyed The National. Come up and see them the next time they play the Bowery Ballroom. I agree with your assessment of Modest Mouse. Johnny Marr’s talents have been wasted since the Smiths broke up.

I had been a fan of R.E.M. since I saw them on their first U.S. tour opening for Gang of Four at Cherry Hill’s Emerald City. (Yeah I admit I’m a 50 year-old grandfather, but I still like to think I’m cool.) But I thought they had jumped the shark when Bill Berry left, because their albums and live performance since then have been lackluster. Like your Mann show opinion, I think the band is better now then they’ve ever been. Something has re-energized them – maybe they feel comfortable playing with Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin. I’ve never seen Michael Stipe so animated. Plus they looked like they were having fun up there. I also enjoyed seeing their lack of ego: Stipe let Mike Mills sing lead on “Don’t Go Back to Rockville”, and Peter Buck gave many of his guitar solos to Scott. I’m thrilled to have my favorite band back.

Thanks for pushing me to get off my ass. Have a great weekend.


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