Members of the legendary rock band R.E.M. got together with some big names to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary on Wednesday (December 14).
In August 1982, the Athens, Georgia-born band released Chronic Town, their first EP. But the group, which broke up in 2011, got back together this week to celebrate the past in their old Georgia stomping grounds.
The anniversary event took place at the 40 Watt Club in Athens and all of R.E.M. was there to celebrate. Peter Buck and Mike Mills stayed with the house band for the majority of the evening. That band was comprised of the Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson, along with Sven Pipien on bass and Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin on drums. The night was hosted by comedian David Cross, who recently announced his own string of standup tour dates.
While the night with R.E.M. began as a Chronic Town tribute, the group ended up playing songs from all their releases. Guests included the EP’s producer Mitch Easter, Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, the Indigo Girls, actor and musician John Cameron Mitchell, Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins and more.
Longtime R.E.M. side project The Baseball Project, which includes Buck and Mills, also performed. So did some Athens musicians, including Elf Power and Pylon Reenactment Society. The show concluded with a cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls.”
Check out videos of the show, including performances with Rucker, Indigo Girls, Kaye, Armisen, Easter, David Ryan Harris and many more, below.
Pylon Reenactment Society playing “Crush with Eyeliner”:
Indigo Girls playing an “Orange Crush” singalong:
Fred Armisen playing “Gardening At Night”:
Mitch Easter playing “1,000,000”:
More photos and videos form the show:
Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images