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Whenever a band starts their career, they are in most cases not selling out to 20,000 fans in a screaming arena. Instead they decide their careers in some other unique route, such as playing at a birthday party. 
R.E.M. is one of those bands that decided early in their careers the best way to become a huge band is to do just yet and put out an ad in the local Athens Banner asking anyone if they wanted to play at their birthday party. 
One curious young woman decided to take her up on that request. That person was Kathleen O'Brien and before no time, she sent the band her CV to see if she was a viable candidate for this position.
Ok, well maybe it did not happen quite like that. Kathleen or KO as she is better known by had to do some convincing and the convincing worked out and the band played their storied debut at a dilapidated Church-turned-cheap apartments at 394 Oconee Street. 
The recordings below are the only public audio recordings that have shared with the public. This site always puts out hope that there are additional shows from this era, however, at this time we will have to settle for these three.
May 30, 1980 - 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
June 6, 1980 - Wuxtury Records, Atlanta, GA
October 4, 1980 - Tyrone's O.C., Athens, GA
May 7, 1980 - 'Underdog' R.E.M. Upstages the Brains
May 1980 - Red and Black Articles