Michael Stipe is not someone I would like to see wearing a pair of shorts. He is much too slender. That said, I did like seeing him in concert last night. If you’re interested, he wore black pants, a striped dress shirt and silver tie, and suit coat. When he first came out he had a little cap similar to those worn by the Newsies, but he immediately removed it and threw it into the audience. When he came out he seemed tiny. However, he seemed to grow in stature throughout the evening. I guess that’s what you call “stage presence.” As ever, the man has got some moves-- strange, cool, and not unlike having a seizure.
Best Thing: REM is not stingy with their music. They played plenty of old favorites which is a treat.
Of Note: Michael Stipe has a hairy chest. It’s not inordinately hairy and I didn’t see the whole thing, but I thought you’d like to know since you might not have pictured it that way on account of his bald head. On a related side note, it sure is a good time for bald men. It’s totally in style. Good for them. I mean, I’m glad I’m not married to one or anything, but I’m happy for them.
Not as Disgusting as I Would Have Expected: Unexpectedly, Michael Stipe spit several logies out onto the stage. We had very good seats and are certain that this is what he was doing. At first it looked like he was spitting out gum, but how could he have 3 pieces in there? I find the practice of logie-spitting appalling but Michael Stipe did it without the whole grotesque sniffing choking prelude. I guess as a result of the concert I have been able to isolate that part of the logie process as the worst part.
Odd: More than one person vehemently expressed their dislike for REM and Michael Stipe in particular on Thanksgiving Day because, as you might imagine, I told everyone about the concert I would be going to on Friday. One of these people was my Mom. At first I thought she didn’t like Michael Stipe for political reasons but then I remembered that my mom has never liked their music. In fact, she HATES their music. I respect this because my mom likes Van Halen and Elvis. You see, she has discriminating taste.
The other person who expressed their dislike for REM was the hair stylist of my husband’s parents. Why was I eating Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws’ hair dresser? Don’t ask me. But he doesn’t like REM. These people are decidedly against REM; they aren’t neutral and they don’t just dislike them. It’s interesting. Of course I like REM’s music and I think Michael Stipe seems a rather pleasant person. He is a gracious entertainer. Is he an egomaniac? Perhaps. But who isn’t these days? Not counting sex appeal, I would even go so far as to say that I think Michael Stipe would be funner to hang out with than Bono, if I had to choose an egomaniac to spend the day with. I mean, at least I have heard of the social issues Stipe cares about. Bono’s concerns extend beyond America. I can’t carry on a conversation about about such things!
Personal Highlight: During the song “This One Goes Out to the One I Love” Michael Stipe made eye contact with me and then pointed at me. Christian confirmed this. I realize that there are probably several other people who think he was pointing at them at this time but, honestly, what harm does it do for me to believe that he was pointing at me? None at all. So that was special for me. I also liked how Michael Stipe told us that he was trying out some new shoes. He held up the old stand-bys in case the new shoes didn’t work out. It was such a relief to get a good look at the shoes and to have open discussion of them. I usually have to really strain to see the shoes and to postulate theories about them.
Startling Realization: Christian and I are super immature about seeing lesbians—even mild mannered ones. Can I just tell you that? I don’t’ know why because in most other ways we are extremely sophisticated—except for Christian and people with artificial limbs—but everything else we are really good about not nudging each other and pointing at. We always seem to be sitting behind them at concerts.
Embarrassing But True: When "Walk Unafraid" started I kept looking over at the side of the stage where Bill Berry might be coming out to reunite with the band a la my pre-concert blog comment/wish. Ok, here's the whole thing: I also imagined that Michael Stipe gave a shout out to me saying, "You called it KASM!" He's very active on the internet, you know, so it could happen. Do you think it's more likely that he pointed at me during "This One Goes out to the One I Love" or that he reads my blog? Come on. Throw me a bone.
Some Advice: Far be it for me to dictate how other REM enthusiasts participate at concerts but if you are going to be all into it and sing along with your eyes closed or squinting and make a wincing face because the music means so much to you, please know the lyrics. Then it's less painful for people like me to watch you.
Remember That Musicians Actually Want to be Musicians: The opening act, Charlie Mars, consisted of black-Levi and Willie Nelson T-shirt-wearing good old boys with either very short or very long hair. On keyboards, however, was an enthusiastic fellow who seemed not to belong. He had medium-long, permed Duran Duran style hair and he loved Charlie Mars' music so much that he had tears in his eyes. He was singing back up vocals but I get the feeling that no one asked him to.
Awkward but Helpful: I was inquiring about some t-shirts and the roadie-type fellow warned me against one of the cuter pink ringer ts. "That has more of a baby doll fit." This was his way of telling me they are only for skinny people. "Ahh," I said. "No offense taken." He was relieved.
Best New Idea: I used to salute the crazy weird dude on Geneva Road who first whistled, then did "Peace" sign, then flipped the bird, then went away for a while, and now just sits on his porch and stares at passing cars. Now I will wholeheartedy sing along to REM cds and launch into Michael Stipe moves whenever I pass--sometimes looking right at him, sometimes pretending like I don't know he's there. I've done it twice today already. You may ask, why? To rock the crazy weird dude's world, of course.
Must go. Have "Stand" ringtones to download.