On a tiny bit of site business: I admit that time got the best of me with my intent to post podcasts of R.E.M.-related shows. I actually have about 6 or 7 more completed but have not worked on getting them posted as of yet. I have no timetable for this. I do not plan on making any timetable because I just get sidetracked because that is the way that I roll. :-)
Rather I would want this site to just contain discussion when I really want to say something. That being said, I wanted to speak a little bit about the REMTV, release that hit the stores.
R.E.M. fans have been greeted by a “Data Dump”; a 6-DVD collection of concerts and performances as well as a 107 minute “Documentary” that appears to be a rework and expansion of their popular “Rockumentary” format from years past.
Over 14 hours of material that becomes perfect late night binge-watching while the temperatures begin to dip.
However, this was not just a whim. We are officially in the post-active career path for the band where the discussion is not about whether the band will reform and tour but rather, where do they stand with the other giants of rock.
The item that is gathering the most attention is the “Documentary” that was put together by MTV/Viacom that captured snippets of interviews and performances to provide what I consider the opening statement on the band and where their legacy stands.
There are some criticisms of the piece considering that certain parts of their history seem to have been conveniently omitted entirely such as the fallout with Jefferson Holt, Peter Buck’s airline incident or their breakup. Admittedly, after watching it a couple times, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t feel like a “Documentary” but rather a “Montage” (and a long one at that) which did a better job of collecting the highlights of their career vs. dealing with some of the more controversial topics which are apt to pop up.
R.E.M.’s was the critics band of during the 80’s an one of the popular bands of the 90’s but saw both their popularity and critical acclaim wane in the 21st Century, especially in America. While the Documentary is top heavy on information from the 80’s and 90’s, most of the live shows do not feature Bill Berry as the drummer as most of the live shows were after 1998.
More engaging is that it feels like you are digging through someone’s VCR Tapes that they had recorded off of MTV. There was not a lot of effort in trying to reproduce the live shows as they occurred but rather they added on the outtakes after the edited TV broadcast.
I do not feel like I am done speaking about this release by any means. Being away from certain elements of R.E.M. fandom, I hope, has given me time to reconsider some thoughts about the R.E.M. cannon, specifically, post Bill Berry. I wanted this to be an opening dialogue (of sorts). This release is, in many ways, an opportunity for many fans to reconsider their post Berry output.