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R.E.M. - July 2, 1982 - Strand Cabaret, Marietta, GA

In terms of historical recognition, the R.E.M. show that was performed at the Strand Cabaret in Marietta, Georgia sets itself as a unique document in many ways.  The last quality recording of the band took place on May 14th, at the Piedmont Arts festival.

There was a recording approximately 1 week earlier at the I&I Club, however, the quality of the show is so substandard it is not worth any mention other than for posterity.
The Strand Show offers some early glimpses at a couple songs that would make it onto ‘Murmur’ as well as a unique version of ‘Sitting Still’ which, according to my knowledge is not recorded like this in any other manner.
The show is most known for the version of Perfect Circle that the band played. What always made this song a bit unique was the fact that on the live versions they pulled out a Drum Machine. While there is evidence that the band might have played this song at an earlier date, this is the first known recording of this song. I think the ironic aspect of the song is that it was written by Bill Berry, and yet, the live versions, early on had the drum machine.
Several songs make their “Quality Recording” debut performance as well. ‘We Walk’, becomes Michael Stipe’s fractured fairytale. Live versions always feel as if the tempo is slightly faster as well as the mystique of the song is often missing. At the same time, the transformation of this song from the live to album setting should equally appreciated.
‘Moral Kiosk’ is a second song that is provided here and by this time, I am not sure that Michael is nailing the vocal parts but the energy and enthusiasm that is present outweighs any technical issues that might be apparent.
One of the more fascinating tracks on this recording however, is the version of Sitting Still that they perform. The band on the first verse decides to change things up and play it at a slower tempo than had been performed up to this point. After the chorus, the band speeds the tempo back up to normal and yet, it’s the only time that it’s known they played it in this fashion.
As would be mentioned on the Dublin Shows from 2007, we forget that much of the testing of these songs would take place not in a studio but in front of a live audience whereby they can not only get the impression from the fans in the crowd.
The recording of this show has been remastered by Drew Crumbaugh from the “Do the Strand” bootleg. I have included the discussion of that below:
2 July 1982
The Strand Cabaret, Marietta, GA
Source: Silver CD bootleg "Do The Strand" (Red Robin Records)
AUD unk *low* gen analog, possibly reel or Elcaset based on sonics
EAC secure (no errors)
Adobe Audition @ 32bit
Phase correction
Pitch correction
Secret sauce
Various cleanup edits
Re-tracksplit at sector boundaries
Normalization and fades
Dither to 16bit
FLAC you
From my original seed of this on the defunct Sharing The Groove tracker:
This is a TERRIFIC sounding audience recording of a classic pre-Murmur gig, at the Strand Cabaret in Marietta, GA. It's one of the best AUD recordings I've ever heard - at first I thought it was a soundboard recording but you can hear too much audience chatter for that to be the case.
Either way, it's a phenomenal gig, and it is from a very critical part of the band's career – many of the songs that would end up on "Murmur" were written during this time, and you can hear the differences pretty clearly here. "Perfect Circle" is debuted here and played with a drum machine - this is why it was dropped from the live set shortly after summer 1982 until the Green tour, when they could do it justice.
Pulled this out for a re-listen the other day and realized a couple things:
1) It's too slow - per Audition, it runs about 2% slow.
2) It's out of phase.
3) It's muffled and otherwise poorly EQ'ed.
Beyond that, it's a great little gig that took *very* well to remastering - this could fool many people into thinking it's a soundboard!
I'm not convinced this is a cassette master. The underlying sonics sound very much as if it was a reel-to-reel tape source, or perhaps an Elcaset machine (a short-lived successor to the venerable cassette pitched by Sony in the late 1970's that had better frequency response and sonics than the classic cassette format). There's a Joy Division gig (Jan 18 1980 Eindhoven, Holland) recorded on Elcaset that has similar sonics, which makes me think this too is possibly Elcaset.
So I tarted it up quite a bit and, if I may be so humble, this is the definitive version of this
gig. It's that good! So trash any other version you may have of this gig and grab this. Unless, of  course, you have a soundboard of it ;)
Tracks (Right Click To Download)
01 intro
02 West Of The Fields
03 Shaking Through
04 Pilgrimage
05 Romance
06 We Walk
07 Wolves, Lower
08 That Beat
09 Pretty Persuasion
10 Sitting Still
11 1,000,000
12 Gardening At Night
13 9-9
14 There She Goes Again
15 Catapult
16 Radio Free Europe
17 Perfect Circle
18 Laughing
19 Moral Kiosk
20 Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)
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