A then-unheard of gap of three years stood between R.E.M.'s first two albums for Warner Bros. Records - 1988's Green and 1991's Out of Time - so there's still time to go before the departed band's ongoing 25th anniversary album remaster campaign enters the 1990s. With that, Warner Bros. is instead releasing, for the first time, two complete live sets the band recorded for the beloved MTV Unplugged series. Both sets will first be available in a single, four-disc vinyl box set to be released on Record Store Day.
The Athens, Georgia quartet's first appearance on the program followed the release of seventh studio album Out of Time, which would become a massive hit off the strength of Top 10 singles like "Losing My Religion" and "Shiny Happy People." Six of the set's 17 performances hail from tracks recorded during the album's sessions, including non-LP B-sides "Fretless" and "Rotary 11." (Those two tracks, as well as acoustic renditions of Document's "Swan Swan H" and Green's "Get Up" and "World Leader Pretend," were never included in the original broadcast and are heard here for the first time.
Almost exactly a decade later, R.E.M. reappeared on Unplugged a somewhat different band - not the least of which was due to the departure of drummer Bill Berry. In promotion of the band's second album as a trio, Reveal, the group delivered a slightly more diverse set, stretching all the way back to 1984's "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" and including some of the best tracks from the band's early trio years, including "Daysleeper," "At My Most Beautiful" and "Imitation of Life." Six of the 16 performances from this set were excised from the original airing.
For those who are looking for a smaller or less expensive way to enjoy this one, fear not: a two-disc CD edition will be released on May 20. But for those looking to put this on your RSD shopping list - and don't forget, the full list is live this Thursday - this is definitely going to be one to look for. (Doubly so if you frequent Bull Moose Records in Scarborough, Maine, where R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills will be on hand on April 19 to sign copies of the RSD-exclusive box.)
After the jump, check out the full track list for the set!
Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions (Warner Bros., 2014)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LPs 1-2: MTV Unplugged - 4/10/1991
- Half a World Away
- Disturbance At the Heron House
- Radio Song
- Perfect Circle
- Fall on Me
- Love is All Around
- Its the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
- Losing My Religion
- Pop Song 89
- Fretless *
- Swan Swan H *
- Rotary 11 *
- Get Up *
- World Leader Pretend *
LPs 3-4: MTV Unplugged - 5/21/2001
- All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)
- At My Most Beautiful
- So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)
- Losing My Religion
- Country Feedback
- Imitation of Life
- Find the River
- The One I Love *
- Disappear *
- Beat a Drum *
- I’ve Been High *
- I’ll Take the Rain *
- Sad Professor *
This is definitely the best release on the RSD list this year. I'm glad they're putting it out on CD a few weeks later too!
Jason Michael says
I have this on my RSD list, but if I miss the vinyl the CD will be fine. Very nice track listings for both dates. Have these ever been released on home video/DVD?
That cover design is terrible! It looks like an average-quality bootleg release.