R.E.M. concert tours
The following is a listing of R.E.M. tours.
1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1989 | 1995 | 1998 | 1999 | 2001 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2008 | Live releases |References
R.E.M. traveled extensively, mostly around the Deep South, during their first few years of being a unit. Their first real, albeit relatively local tour took place in 1981. Mistakenly nicknamed "Rapid.Eye.Movement.Tour.1981" by the band's manager at the time, Jefferson Holt, the tour was arranged by Bill Berry, and its main aim was to help raise the necessary funds to keep the band operating. The tour was in support of their "Radio Free Europe" single, which was to be released on David Hibbert's Hib-Tone label in July 1981.
A tour in support of Murmur got underway in March. The band made their first live television appearance during the tour, on Late Night with David Letterman on October 6. The tour concluded in Europe in late November.
R.E.M. returned to Europe in April 1984, this time in support of their second studio album, Reckoning, with a tour titled the "Little America tour" ("Little America" being a track on the album). They tour their homeland between June and November, before visiting Asia for the first time in mid-November. This was followed with a few more shows in the UK and Norway during late November and early January 1985.
A "Pre-Construction" tour in April and May took the band around several eastern states. After the release of Fables of the Reconstruction in June, the band traveled to Europe. The following month, they returned to North America for a two-month tour. The "Reconstruction I" tour began in Oregon in July and ended in New Jersey in August.
October's "Reconstruction II" tour took the band back to Europe, beginning in the Netherlands and ending in Scotland.
In November, "Reconstruction III" commenced in Colorado.
"Pageantry Tour", in support of Life's Rich Pageant album.
"Work Tour", in support of the album Document. R.E.M. did not perform any shows throughout the following year, and signed to Warner Bros. for the release of their sixth studio album Green. R.EM. remained on Warner Bros. until their breakup in 2011.
R.E.M.'s first major tour, as well as their biggest most visually developed tour to date, featured back-projections and art films playing on the stage during the band's shows.
The final show of the tour at the Fox Theater, in Atlanta, GA featured the band performing their first full-length album, Murmur in order, from start to finish, followed by Green in order, from start to finish. The night was concluded by an encore set performed by Mike & the Melons with Michael Stipe fronting the road crew. It marked the only live performance of The Wrong Child, and one of the few live performances of Hairshirt.
A concert video called Tourfilm is a compilation of footage from various locations on these tours.
R.E.M. would not tour again until their 1994 release Monster. Subsequent tours would feature backing musicians assuming instrumental roles, which became more prominent especially after Bill Berry's departure in 1997.
After refusing to tour in support of their two previous releases Out of Time and Automatic for the People, the band agreed to tour in support of Monster. The tour was critically and commercially successful, though a handful of shows were either cancelled or postponed due to health problems associated with the band members.
New Adventures in Hi-Fi, the band's tenth studio album, was released in 1996 without a supporting tour, though a handful of material was performed during this tour. Eight-track recorders were brought to capture its shows, and used the recordings as the base elements for that album.
This was the final tour to feature Bill Berry, though he briefly reunited with them during a show in 2003. This was also the first tour to feature involvement from Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey, who remained active with the group on recordings of albums from New Adventures in Hi-Fi to Collapse Into Now, as well as subsequent tours.
After initially stating they would not tour behind this year's Up, the band changed their mind. A small television-and-radio tour around North America and Europe occurred between October and December. A larger, six-month tour around the same continents began in February in Europe the following year. The North American leg began in August. 
Airportman was performed at a benefit show before the promo tour commenced in 1998, but not during any tours throughout the band's career. You're In the Air and Diminished (despite the I'm Not Over You coda being performed) were never performed live either.
Although Saturn Return was never performed live, Michael Stipe performed the song entirely himself during a show at Carnegie Hall in March 2011.
At a concert in Raleigh, North Carolina, Berry made a surprise appearance, performing backing vocals on "Radio Free Europe". He then sat behind the drum kit for a performance of the early R.E.M. song "Permanent Vacation", marking his first performance with the band since his retirement, though he still refused to rejoin the group regardless.
This was the first tour to feature Bill Rieflin, who later recorded the next three albums released from the band and performed with the group on tours supporting two of those three album releases.
A promo tour for Around the Sun began in Europe in September. Prior to the release of the album, the band partook in the political "Vote for Change" tour, which included shows in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Washington, D.C.
A post-album tour commenced in October in North America.
A European tour began in Europe in 2005, then extended to South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The final leg of the tour took the band back to Europe.
Around the Sun was a commercial and critical failure, and band members later expressed disappointment in the album after the tour ended. A majority of material from Around the Sun was largely absent in their subsequent tour.
In 2007, before the release of Accelerate and the supporting tour behind it in 2008, R.E.M. held five night "rehearsals" in front of a live audience at The Olympia in Dublin to test out new material from Accelerate and to revisit and perform old favorites, many of which hadn't been played live in nearly two decades. The resulting live album and DVD, Live at The Olympia, was released in 2009.
Accelerate was met with much critical enthusiasm, especially from fans of their back catalog who praised the "back-to-basics" direction that was undertaken with the album. Given the lukewarm reception of their last album in comparison, the band ignored everything from Around the Sun during a majority of shows during the tour.
R.E.M. disbanded in September 2011 and did not perform any shows after the conclusion of this tour. Their final Collapse Into Now release was never performed live, though Michael Stipe did a solo performance of Every Day Is Yours To Win at Carnegie Hall in March 2011.
Videos and DVDs
- Tourfilm (1990)
- Road Movie (1996)
- Perfect Square (2004)
- R.E.M. Live (2007)
- Live at The Olympia (This Is Not a Show) (2009)
CDs and Digital Releases
- Vancouver Rehearsal Tapes (2003)
- R.E.M. Live (2007)
- Live from London (2008)
- Live at Larry's Hide-Away (Murmur 2008 Deluxe Edition bonus disc)
- Live at the Aragon Ballroom (Reckoning 2009 Deluxe Edition bonus disc)
- Live at The Olympia (2009)
This list includes only official releases made up exclusively and entirely of live performances. Various other live performances by R.E.M. can be found as B-sides, compilation tracks, bonus tracks, promotional EPs, bootlegs, etc.