I had heard way back in December that R.E.M. was going to headline SXSW in 2008 and immediately began hearing rumors that they were going to be this years surprise guests at Roky Erickson's Ice Cream Social. As the date's grew closer more and more confirmations came in, from very, very reliable sources. By the day of the Ice Cream Social the tension was palpable, everyone was hoping, and in fact the production schedule had an hour slotted for them right before Roky. Listed as "Special Guests" everyone had their fingers crossed.
It was just not to be.
It turned out that Austin City Limits had invited them to film a set and it was at exactly the same time they had been slotted to be at the picnic.
Instead of ME filming an intimate performance of R.E.M., the lucky bastards over at KLRU got the privilege. My loss, however, is definitely the worlds gain. Instead of my grainy, bouncy YouTube videos everyone will get to watch R.E.M.s performance on Austin City Limits in rich H.D., with excellent production quality audio, starting this Saturday on your local PBS stations. It's a great set too, R.E.M. was in rare form the night before and the energy just carried over to the ACL set.
Maybe next time Austin City Limits will invite me too.
To check out the set list, see pictures, and watch streaming video from the show online check out the Austin City Limits page at http://www.pbs.org/klru/austin/