R.E.M.

Unplugged 2001

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Originally issued in May of 2014 as half of Unplugged 1991 & 2001: The Complete Sessions, this live recording is of R.E.M.'s 2001 show only. The only band ever to headline MTV's acoustic concert series twice, the Georgians return here without drummer Bill Berry for a tight 16-song set that dips generously into their nearly two-decade career. Aided by auxiliary sidemen Ken Stringfellow and Scott McCaughey along with touring drummer Joey Waronker on percussion, the band is in fine form and nimbly makes its way through early fare like "So. Central Rain" and "Cuyahoga" and into mid-period songs like their unlikely number one smash "Losing My Religion" and the beautiful 1992 ballad "Find the River." Of course, much focus is placed on what were their more current songs at the time, like Up's "At My Most Beautiful" and Reveal's "Imitation of Life," both of which dovetail fairly nicely with their more successful earlier work within this acoustic context. In the greater span of R.E.M.'s career, 2001 isn't necessarily considered their greatest period, but this outing sounds confident and strong, revealing a band that still had plenty more to offer.

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