R.E.M. Tease Fans With Three-Fourths of a Reunion in Athens, Georgia
See Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry play "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" at the 40 Watt Club
R.E.M. staged a near-reunion in their hometown of Athens, Georgia, on November 14, as bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry performed alongside guitarist Peter Buck at local live music institution the 40 Watt Club. As Slicing Up Eyeballs notes, three-fourths of the iconic band got back together to play “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville,” a country-kissed single from R.E.M.’s classic sophomore album, 1984’s Reckoning. Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe didn’t join in on lead vocals, but according to a tweet from an audience member, he was in the crowd, which had gathered to see Buck, who is planning a second solo album and was sharing the bill with ex-Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ lead singer Kevn Kinney.
The indie legends, who called it quits in 2011, have “zero plans” for a legit reunion, but this isn’t the first time they teased fans with a coy almost-reconciliation. Earlier this year, all four group members took the stage at Buck’s wedding — just not at the same time or in any kind of combination that would constitute an official reunion, as Slicing Up Eyeballs pointed out. And earlier this week, Stipe, Buck, Mills, and Berry were all spotted hanging out together in Athens (via Twitter).
For now, settle for the not-quite-reunion on “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville,” which can be seen above by way of fan-shot footage. The video’s sound quality may be a little spotty, but it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to seeing R.E.M. back together.