Admittedly, I find myself reflecting too much on my younger days with R.E.M. which is why I write this.
Over the past 100 years, R.E.M. has only been a band for about 30 of those years and in those 30 years they spent the last 10 years on a treadmill. Yes, I can understand there are a few of you out there that like Reveal and Accelerate is a good record for a mid-level band but not R.E.M. So when a DVD is going to be released which is going to focus on music in their last album, it’s not something that I immediately jump up and purchase.
For those that are not aware, a DVD of R.E.M.'s performance on Austin City Limits, will be released on October 26, 2010. This performance was taken during a point when R.E.M. was “at a pivotal point in their career” says ACL producer Terry Licona.
You can say that again.
The problem with albums like Accelerate is that they are easily forgettable amongst the vast 30 year history of the band. So getting another “Concert Video” from them during this period almost feels like burnout. Out of the 17 songs, 9 of them are off Accelerate and the rest are constant reminders of their concert setlists for the past 10 years or so. I watched it initially but found the entire endeavor slightly boring.
Moreover, video, at least for R.E.M. works so much better when it is archival footage. We have so much video of Post-Berry R.E.M., which occurred right around the dawn of the internet age that one would almost forget that he was a bandmember. Right now, that early footage feels so much different than the “R.E.M. by Numbers” videos that we have seen, although the Olympia Video was quite nice for it’s artistic merit and the entire collection was a much more worthy venture considering that they included every unique song title that was played on their 5 day “This Is Not A Show” Show.
Now of course, I should not be so hard on the band as I would imagine that this DVD is being pushed more by, Austin City Limits, a reputable public television enterprise here in the states. However, being that I am a subscriber to PBS currently, shouldn’t I get my free DVD and tote bag?
In an era where we are inundated with information and can go to YouTube to pleasure ourselves, bands have to consistently be reminded that you cannot just put out crap and expect the people to buy it. I am curious if they are going to try to pawn this show off during one of their PBS fundraising pushes considering that this is going to be broadcast on November 27th, which I suspect to be when they do a fundraising drive. There is part of me that would find the sales pitch made by the PBS announcers amusing.
This will not stop me from making a yearly subscription to PBS, because it’s viewers like me that appreciate quality programming such as the program that I am currently watching.