R.E.M. Amsterdam, Westerpark

Michael Stipe, Amsterdam

Michael Stipe on one of his rare trips to the side of the stage.

An open air show in Amsterdam was never going to be as good as the two rehearsal shows at the Olympia theatre in Dublin that I saw last year (read ‘An exercise in terror and music‘), but it was still lovely
to see R.E.M. again, 21 years after my first time at the MCV in Utrecht.

We arrived late and the gates to the circle had already been closed. Bummer. But we joined the small group of people hanging out near the gate stage left. We were let into the circle the minute the gig began. Score!

The crowd was a bit tame – a bit ‘festival’ – and the band seemed a little rusty. Stipey was on autopilot the first few songs, although he loosened up nicely later on. The set was a brave mix of new and old songs, but the crowd only really responded to the older ones. Great to hear Drive and Orange Crush though, and I was happy they did Until the day is done.

There were lots of Dutch Twitterati in the park, but I decided not to join them. Going to gigs is not about drinking or dancing or having fun with people for me. It’s about the music, the performers and the magic that happens between what’s going on on stage and myself and my own memories, thoughts and experiences.

Seen: Amsterdam, Westerpark, July 2, 2008


1. Living Well Is the Best Revenge

2. What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

3. Bad Day

4. Drive

5. Man-Sized Wreath

6. Ignoreland

7. Accelerate

8. Walk Unafraid

9. Hollow Man

10. 7 Chinese Bros.

11. Driver 8

12. Houston

13. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

14. The Great Beyond

15. The One I Love

16. Until The Day Is Done

17. Let Me In

18. These Days

19. Horse To Water

20. Orange Crush

21. I’m Gonna DJ

22. Supernatural Superserious

23. Losing My Religion

24. Electrolite

25. Pretty Persuasion

26. Man On The Moon