Michael Stipe returned to the concert stage Sunday night, performing a short set — he covered songs by Nat King Cole, Ringo Starr and the Velvet Underground — during the Pathway to Paris climate event at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Sunday.
Stipe was featured on a bill that included Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Cat Power, Talib Kweli, Flea and more. Organizers said the event was designed to “help raise consciousness surrounding the urgency of climate action and offers solutions to turning the Paris agreement into action,” and would be part of a call to all cities of the world to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
With minimal accompaniment, the former R.E.M. frontman played a short set, opening with Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” before telling a story about his musically sheltered young life, and the fact that he wasn’t much of a Beatles fan. So much so, that he mistook Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” as the Fab Four.
Stipe then launches into a bit of that Starr songs, before cutting himself off saying, “That’s not the song that I really wanted to sing. It reminds me of the one I really wanted to sing,” before launching into Starr’s 1973 solo hit “Photograph.” The set concludes with a somber reading of the Velvets’ “Sunday Morning.”
Watch the full performance below via uploader J Broadbent.
Setlist: Michael Stipe, Pathway to Paris concert, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 11/5/17
1. “Nature Boy” (Nat King Cole)
2. “It Don’t Come Easy” (Partial) (Ringo Starr)
3. “Photograph” (Ringo Starr)
4. “Sunday Morning” (The Velvet Undergound)