Reunions, Video — November 14, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Video: 3/4 of R.E.M. plays ‘(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville’ at 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga.

Some of R.E.M.

Photo via Tommy Warren / ‏@bigwheat

In what’s becoming a semi-regular occurrence, the former members of R.E.M. came within spitting distance of a full-blown reunion in the band’s hometown of Athens, Ga., tonight as Mike Mills and Bill Berry joined Peter Buck onstage at the 40 Watt Club to perform their 1984 single “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” — with Michael Stipe reportedly in the crowd.

The near-reunion wasn’t exactly a surprise; Buck was slated to perform with Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ N Cryin’ at the venerable 40 Watt Club, and all four members had been spotted in Athens the night before. Still, with word of Stipe in the crowd at the 40 Watt, fans were abuzz with the possibility of a full-blown reunion of the college-rock superstars.

Instead, it appears the former bandmates — who pulled a similar stunt at Buck’s wedding in June — are carefully avoiding a full reunion.

Below, check out full video via PatHatcher.







  1. Thanks for posting, that’s a timeless song and it’s good to see Bill behind the kit again. Best band ever.

    While I like ‘Collapse Into Now’ well enough, I’ve often thought they missed a chance by not recording one final record with Mitch Easter and Don Dixon to bring things full circle.

    Guys: There’s still time.

    • with Mitch Easter, Don Dixon and Bill!

      • Yes, exactly — AND Bill.

        That’s not to ‘dis’ the later incarnations of the band. I’m a huge fan of most of what they released from 1998 forward (especially ‘Up,’ an overlooked masterpiece). But REM are a band with a unique mythology, and it was built by those four guys playing together, and built on the foundation of those first couple of records with Mitch and Don. Even if they didn’t want to tour it, I can’t help but think one final session in North Carolina would have been the way to go out. You know the results would have been amazing.

        • They had the mythology and a dynamic so completely their own. I’m all about the band, be it R.E.M., Talking Heads, The Jam, The Police – whoever. There’s just something about the four of them together, knowing how to get what they need from each other, putting up with the quirks and all the other stuff that occurs when individuals converge to create.

  2. They’ve only been separated for a few years now, give it some time. A reunion seems a forgone conclusion.

  3. Thrilled to see Bill banging on the drums…one class act!

  4. Is it wrong that I find myself wishing a nasty case of dysentery upon the people in the club that CAN’T SHUT UP!!?

  5. I firmly believe that a reunion will never happen, even if I’d love to see it. Stipe is sick of touring and doesn’t seem to enjoy performing anymore – he’s seemed uncomfortable in the few public performances he’s made in recent years. (I think Mike even alluded to it in a recent interview.)

    I could see a one-off (in the spirit of the wedding performance a few years ago or for a special event). But I feel like Stipe just really wants to be done with live performance. I think the best we can hope for is that he somehow gets a jonesing to get back on stage.

    But I agree with the others – I’d love to see them do an EP with the original lineup with Mitch and Don. Maybe even record some of the early tunes that never got studio recordings (eg, “Dangerous Times”).

  6. how nice! together even Bill Berry! By Michael come too!
    Meravigliosi !

  7. From today’s The Onion: “R.E.M.’s Children Still Hoping Parents Will Get Back Together”,34572/

    • Next up on the Onion’s speculative rock’n’roll wish-fulfillment thread: Sonic Youth’s children still hoping Momma Kim and Papa Thurston will get back together…

    • So we’re supposed to feel silly and infantilized for hoping a good band might find it in themselves to put out one more record? Whatever.

      ps. The Onion wore out that “Area Man/Woman” joke years ago.

      • “Instead, it appears the former bandmates — who pulled a similar stunt at Buck’s wedding in June — are carefully avoiding a full reunion.”

        If true, this is infantile.

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