Anniversary, Digital Music, Milestones — August 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

Milestones: R.E.M.’s ‘Chronic Town’ turns 30 today — hear an hour-long 1982 concert

Today we celebrate one of the more significant milestones in the college-rock era, the 30th anniversary of the release of R.E.M.’s debut EP, Chronic Town. the five-song record that launched the band and, in many ways, the ’80s indie scene.

To commemorate this classic record — which, bizarrely, has never received an official standalone CD release — we present audio of a concert recorded a few months earlier, in Madison, Wisc., on April 24, 1982, that finds the band working through its early catalog. Check it out below in the playlist below via YouTube uploader .



Setlist: R.E.M., Merlyn’s, Madison, WI, 4/24/82

1. “Gardening At Night”
2, “9-9”
3. “Ages Of You”
4. “Shaking Through”
5. “Laughing”
6. “Romance”
7. “Sitting Still”
8. “Pretty Persuasion”
9. “That Beat”
10. “Catapult”
11. “Radio Free Europe”
12. “Wolves, Lower”
13. “Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)”
14. “White Tornado”
15. “West Of The Fields”
16. “Stumble/Apache/Skank”






  1. Wow – hard to believe it’s been 30 years – I don’t feel that old (wink)! Saw these guys, soon after the release, at a little dive on the infamous Tate St. It was such an intimate event that I swore I would never see them again; didn’t want to have it spoiled in any way, shape or form. Cheers ya’ll!

  2. Wow, they’re really blitzing through these songs, aren’t they? I wouldn’t be around for another 9 years after this EP came out (and I only barely first heard it about 7 years ago), but for being 30 years old these songs still hold up against a lot of today’s stuff. Congratulations to this late, great band!

  3. How awesome is this. I got to Madison 4 months after this show and missed it! Although I went on to fall in love with the band that year, saw them 8 times and never turned back. The club this audio is from, Merlyns, was thee coolest club in Madison at the time–just a little dive place in the heart of downtown right near the Capitol. Sadly they closed down about 10 months after this show.

  4. Great recording…. I first got into them when Automatic for the People came out but love the early rawer stuff like this. It must have been exciting to be part of it all back then. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Matt Godfrey

    Who knew then that in 32 years we would be looking back at the opening offering from the best band in the world,with an unbelivable un compromising body of work,Chronic Town was the beginning of an amazing journey,a journey that Im so thrilled to of been a part of.1.OOO.000 thank yous!

  6. You know you are old when you can remember falling in love with REM in the 80s. Hair or no hair, I love Michael Stipe & Co. Thanks for the flashback ;-)

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