R.E.M. launch tour at Deer Lake Park

R.E.M. live @ Deer Lake Park

They’ve recorded here, and claim to be planning on doing so again. They’ve launched tours here, and played secret club shows here. If it feels like Athens Georgia’s R.E.M. is in Vancouver as much most local bands, well that certainly did not dampen the expectations on the group as they kicked off their latest world wide tour in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park. Headlining a three act show that included Modest Mouse and The National, the show is an early front runner for highlight of the local concert season, and was well worth even the steep ticket cost.

After the jump a closer look at each of the three groups’ performances as well as pictures from the Deer Lake Park show on Friday.

The National

The National live @ Deer Lake Park

The National [wp] have been one of the few bands in the last few years who’ve managed to break into regular rotation on my iPod. If I was on the fence about seeing R.E.M. again, having seen them in Seattle during their Up tour a few years ago, the inclusion of The National on the bill was what convinced me that this was a must-see show. I can’t recommend their latest album Boxer enough.

Buy Boxer now.

Buy Boxer now.

And yet I’ve still not recommended it enough, even after all of that.

Their set was short, which is to be expected of the first act on a three act bill. Sadly everyone in our group but myself and Lydia [iatl] completely missed The National. Even those who were at the park by in large treated the band’s performance as a chance to look at the R.E.M. t-shirts and get fries in a bucket. Those who did focus on the set were in for a treat.

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse live @ Deer Lake Park

Having seen Modest Mouse the last time they were through Vancouver, in a shitty show at the PNE [mbv], it was the act that I was least looking forward to. The last time they’d lost me with navel gazing noodling about and ridiculously long guitar jams, but when confined to the opening slot before R.E.M. they were constrained and musically very tight. Focusing on their most famous songs like “Float On” “Dashboard” and “Good News For People Who Love Bad News” they were tight, and upbeat.

The set was remarkably better than their last Vancouver show, and though I don’t think I’d ever go to a show headlined by Modest Mouse again I certainly would not avoid seeing them live if they were opening for another act that I wanted to see.


R.E.M. live @ Deer Lake Park

R.E.M. is one of those acts that pretty much everyone knows. Like a select group of bands who’ve managed to stay popular through decades, first hitting the top of the charts in the 1908s, they’re the sort of band that my parents know of and those crazy teenagers in high school have heard of. Even though they’ve not really had a great album since 1996’s New Adventures In High-Fi, one of my all-time favorite records, they’ve managed to amass a collection of strong singles from each following album and along with earlier material have an incredibly deep live catalogue.

Though they performed “What’s The Frequency Kenneth” [fkr] fairly early on in the set list and “Losing My Religion” near the end, the bulk of the show’s opening songs were pulled from the recently released Accelerate. Part of being the first show on the tour means being the test case for new tunes that haven’t been performed live yet, and while I’d expect a better mix between old and new songs to develop as they travel the world, Vancouver got a fairly fresh collection.

While there’s nothing wrong with being treated to new songs, and Accelerate is one of their best albums for awhile, with a band with such a large pool of tracks to draw from there’s always going to be crowd favorites left out and this was a show where it seemed more notable for what they did not play than for what they did. Still even without a lot of the old favorites, (whither “Shiny Happy People” or “E-Bow The Letter”?), the show was great.

Having seen The White Stripes at Deer Lake Park last summer I have to say that I love it as a venue. The sound is always fantastic for an outside festival and because of a fixed end time the shows are generally fairly tight starting on time and without the long breaks between acts that plague a lot of rock shows.

On a weekend with Vancouver’s first Apple Store opening [mbv] R.E.M. was still the coolest thing going on in town.

1 Comment so far

  1. Around the Metblogs | Boston Metblogs (pingback) on May 31st, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    […] JFK Swims Santa Monica Vancouver: The Boxer, Modest Mouse, and R.E.M. San Francisco: Michael Chabon and Matters Literary New Orleans: Sissy […]

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