There was a mini REM night on the BBC the other night. Quite why the 2 programmes (R.E.M. At The BBC and REM on Later) were tucked away after midnight is something of a mystery when you consider the lesser talents who have had full blown themed nights. But as ever with these things they were recorded to be watched at my leisure.
Featuring a mixture of live performances and mimes, the BBC show leant heavily on the post Bill Berry era with the only live electric performance from before ‘Up’ being one from OGWT in 1984 with a simply suberb acapella ‘Moon River’ leading straight into ‘Pretty Persuasion’. There were good (later) live versions of ‘The One I Love’ and particularly ‘Perfect Circle’ but the likes of ‘All The Way To Reno’ and ‘Daysleeper’ are unlikely to be regarded as amongst the best songs in the band’s repertoire.
But funnily enough two of the mimed performances were amongst the highlights. Up top is the band’s TOTP debut for ‘Orange Crush’ and this is really a performance piece with Stipe alternatively “singing” from behind his megaphone then waving it around in an alarmingly Morrisey-like fashion.
What I really wanted to use thugh was the performance of ‘Crush With Eyeliner’ again mimed on TOTP but it doesn’t seem to be on Youtube. There’s a large number of dancers on stage with the band, some on pedestals, which creates a good energy. But the video is quite noticeable for the bottom fetish of the director.
One shot from the rear of one of the female dancers sets the video off down a peculiar route with much of the rest of the performance filmed from behind the posteriors of the individuals in bear suits. Of course the fact that Top of the Pops was emblazoned on these ursine rears was undoubtedly a factor but honestly it gets beyond a joke.
Hilariusly towards the end of the video, Stipe leaps onto a pedestal and touches his toes, but suddenly the director seems to be sick of rear ends, managing a shot instead of Stipe’s head between his legs – in quite tight focus! Wonder why?
I’d hoped that someone may have ripped this even since the weekend, but it’s not obvious to me at the moment.