R.E.M. is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival by streaming the band’s 1999 headlining set at that landmark British music event for free.
The acclaimed performance premieres at noon PST Aug. 6 at the band’s YouTube page — where it will remain available for streaming for 72 hours.
This will be the first time that the set has been available for viewing in North America as well as in any other place not named the United Kingdom. It was previously only available via BBC iPlayer for the UK-only, although audio from the set was recently released as part of the “R.E.M. at the BBC” collection.
Touring in support of 1998’s excellent album “Up,” R.E.M. — aka, the greatest American rock band of all time — took Glastonbury’s giant Pyramid Stage on June 25 following performances by Blondie, Bush, Hole and other acts.
And Stipe was definitely feeling pressure to deliver a memorable show.
“Hole did such a great set, I was like — I’ve got to ramp this up, I’ve got to be great. I think it was maybe a moment for R.E.M. and the U.K. where we had kind of been forgotten or pushed aside by younger bands, and that was a particular moment at Glastonbury where I think we pulled ourselves back to the front of the line and actually proved, this is what we’re capable of,” R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe said in a statement.
The group proceeded to charge through a set built both from great new songs (“The Apologist,” “Daysleeper,” “At My Most Beautiful,” etc.) as well as such classics as “The One I Love,” “Losing My Religion,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Man on the Moon” and “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
It turned out to be a “great show,” Stipe recalls.
“I felt triumphant every time we played Glastonbury,” the vocalist says. “The band really stepped up. It’s such a beloved and legendary event that whatever stars are aligned for us personally and as a group, we managed to show the best of ourselves at each of the shows we played there.”
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) April 5, 2020