R.E.M. at the BBC, the band’s 9-disc box set of sessions, concerts, and interviews recorded and broadcast by the BBC through the years, is available today.
The collection tracks R.E.M.’s trip from the U.S. college rock scene to truly global artists, and it includes alternate versions of many of the band’s greatest hits, most of which have never been released before.
Available as a super-deluxe edition 8-CD/1-DVD box set, as well as 2-CD, 2-LP and digital format, R.E.M. at the BBC comprises a treasure trove of rare and unreleased live and studio recordings culled from the BBC archives.
In-studio performances featured in the 8-CD/1-DVD box set include a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003), and a glorious Radio 1 Live Lounge performance (2008). Live broadcasts include a rough-and-tumble show from Nottingham’s Rock City (1984), the stunning 1995 Milton Keynes Monster Tour (their first after a six-year break), a blistering 1999 Glastonbury headline set, and an invitation-only 2004 show at London’s St James’s Church.
The DVD kicks off with a sixty-minute intimate retrospective of the band’s legendary performances at the BBC in the Accelerating Backwards film – previously broadcast only in the UK and available commercially for the first time here. Accelerating Backwardsalso includes revealing interviews with Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, further evincing R.E.M.’s long, special relationship with the BBC. The DVD also offers a complete episode of Later….With Jools Holland from 1998 that was uniquely dedicated to the band, plus TV appearances on Top of the Pops and more.
The package liner notes add yet more behind-the-scenes insight to this definitive retrospective collection. Assorted BBC personalities reminiscence about what it was like to work with R.E.M. both on stage and off. Respected BBC DJ/Presenter Jo Whiley recalls, “Their Glastonbury performance in 1999 was a dazzling moment: the band storming through an all-killer, no-filler setlist. As a headline performance, it was a triumph, and, for me, it’s up there as one of the Glastonbury greats.”
This is a must-have collection for R.E.M. fans and an authoritative introduction for newcomers.
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