Retired drummer Bill Berry and bassman Mike Mills jumped onstage last night with Peter Buck and the rest of The Minus 5 for a near-reunion of R.E.M.’s classic lineup in Athens, Ga. — a get-together that could have spawned a full reunion, since Michael Stipe was in the audience at the 40 Watt Club, according to Steve Wynn’s account of the concert.
The show was part of the triple-bill tour mounted by Buck, Dream Syndicate’s Wynn and Young Fresh Fellows’ Scott McCaughey, all playing together under a trio of musical guises — The Minus 5, The Baseball Project and The Steve Wynn IV.
As Wynn recounts, Mills had been scheduled to join the band onstage in Athens last night, but Berry’s appearance at the 40 Watt was a surprise. The drummer sat in with the Minus 5 for covers of The Beatles’ “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” The McCoys’ “Hang on Sloopy” and The Flamin’ Groovies’ “Teenage Head.”
“I hear that Bill doesn’t go out to all that many shows and I’m pretty sure that he has only played a handful of times with Peter and Mike in recent years so it was certainly a real treat to be up there while that was all going down.”
The tour wraps up with a final show Thursday in Austin, Texas.
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Video: R.E.M., ‘Drive’ from forthcoming ‘Live at the Olympia’ bonus DVD
- Video: R.E.M., ‘Living Well is the Best Revenge’ from ‘Live at the Olympia’
- R.E.M. ‘Live at the Olympia’ tracklist revealed; 39-song, 2CD set due Oct. 26
- Peter Buck, Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey plan triple-bill band-swapping tour
- Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, Frank Black pay tribute to Miracle Legion’s Mark Mulcahy
- R.E.M. planning ‘Reckoning’ reissue, ‘Dublin Working Rehearsals’ live album
- R.E.M. crashes its own tribute concert, plays surprise song with Patti Smith