R.E.M. May Be Gone Now, But We'll Always Have That '86 Fair Park Band Shell Show

Categories: Music
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If you care at all, by now surely you've heard: Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills have called it a day. Good Lord -- has it really been 31 years? "I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision," Stipe writes on the band's website, "but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way." And so that, as they say, is that.

As I was telling our music editor, who was born right around the first time I saw the band at the Bronco Bowl in September '84, they were my gateway drug to American indie rock; before there was Westerberg, there was Stipe. By the time I got to the University of Texas in '86, R.E.M. was college radio -- every single, every B-side, every cough, sneeze and burp in regular rotation. Pete says he never much cared for R.E.M., which I understand; New Adventures in Hi-Fi may be the most recent record I'll listen to with any regularity, and it came out in '96. To him, they're dinosaurs.

Still, over on DC9, at Pete's request, I'm about to post those three songs MTV carried live during the band's Reunion Arena stopover on September 19, 1995, during the Monster tour; Radiohead opened, one highlight among many that greatest-hits night. But here's something I've been holding on to for just the right moment, something hanging out in the Internet without anything to ID it except for the words "Fair park bandshell 1986." Ah, my favorite local music venue, still so sadly underused.

Recorded a year before that show at Moody Coliseum, it's an extraordinary keepsake wonderfully preserved, its setlist brimming with early-days songs and B-sides and Wire and Iggy Pop covers. And, yes, Stipe begins the show by admonishing the crowd to stand back from the stage, lest the band stop and walk away: "I would like to make the request before we come on stage that everyone please try to be civil tonight so we don't have to stop playing, especially the people directly in front of the stage." Won't have to worry about that any more.

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12 comments
Steve Riederer
Steve Riederer

Was this the show Mike Stipe asked everyone to turn around to look at the Texas Star?

johan
johan

I wish I had fond memories of that '86 Fair Park bandshell R.E.M. show --- the tour for the fantastic Life's Rich Pageant album --- but it was a horrible show. Jimmy's recollection is dead on --- Fetchin' Bones invited the crowd to crush the stage, where I was standing a mere feet from their gap-toothed female lead singer. I had to retreat from the stage as R.E.M. started. While the sound was OK and the set list was great, only about 10 people got to see the band play because of how the bandshell was arranged back then.

Such a sad footnote for a band I loved. They went on to play stadiums and I had to let them go.   

Richard M. McCord II
Richard M. McCord II

Over 30 years of awesome. It's sad to see it end, but damn that's a long time to be doing something.

Jimmy Holcomb
Jimmy Holcomb

That was due to the opening act Fetchin' Bones lead singer telling the crowd to stand up and come toward the stage---evidently the audience wasn't animated enough for her------which resulted in an immediate crushing surge which lasted until that Stipe announcement.

Suffice to say that any positive impressions about FB's set were immediately erased by that bit of asshattery.

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

Live in denial until R.E.M. ends their hiatus at the Texas State Fair.  2011 consolation prize =  The Bangles 10/22 (sorry, Neil)

ChrisU
ChrisU

I also lost interest in REM's music years ago. but this show and the two Bronco Bowl shows are among my favorite musical memories. pretty sure they liked our fair town.also have heard stories of them hanging out at Barley House (old location).

rachum
rachum

Just saw the other day (on my REM iphone app...will that still be applicable?) that their little artsy fartsy Collapse Into Now Film Project will be screening at Angelika this Sat. nite http://remhq.com/news_story.ph.... U missed the show we went to with the D's a few years back in October. Still remember being shocked by the vast number of empty seats, WT Heck!!?? 

OldManJam
OldManJam

First the Fort Worth Stones show that I went to while in high school and now the R.E.M. show I attended while in grad school. 

The Observer blogs have been a flood of memories for me this week!

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

The Nokia for Accelerate? Couldn't do it. Now, wish I had.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I'll have to see if one of the Dirkx boys recorded the '82 show at the Hot Klub, where the Telefones opened. My cousin Greg went. Bragged about it for years.

rachum
rachum

Well you know, I am a prophet...I saw the end in sight...damn depressing as it is. Lemme know if you need any future tips on see-'em-now-or-you'll-kick-yourself-later acts;) Dylan?? 

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