Pyramid Stage, Friday 25th June
REM are possibly one of the most influential and successful bands ever, and were a band that I had grown up listening to. On Friday 25th June 1999 on the main stage at Glastonbury REM gave probably the most exciting and diverse musical sets ever seen at any festival around the world. At approximately 11:00pm after the crowd had struggled to sing along to 'Strawberry Fields Forever' Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills made there entry on to the main stage in front of the largest crowd seen all weekend. "Finally fucking made it to Glastonbury" was the opening words from Stipe and that summed up my thoughts quite nicely.
There were many inclusions from there recent album 'Up' including the opening song 'Lotus'. The variety of songs is what I found made REM so extraordinary, the songs ranged from the upbeat rock tunes such as 'What' the frequency Kenneth?' to the more elegant and harmonious 'At my most beautiful'. Stipe's energy and enthralling voice made it an evening that I certainly won't ever forget. The highlight was probably the wonderfully poetic 'Everybody Hurts' which was sung at midnight below a starlit night and a perfectly full moon. 'To the one I love' and 'Man on the moon' were definite crowd pleasers but it was obvious that they were enjoying the concert just as much the audience was which simply added to the already dazzling atmosphere. Although the set did not include it there was certainly a lot of very shinny and very happy people. The encore was concluded by the wonderful and amazing 'End of the world as we know it' where many of the crowd tried but were unable to sing along. This was far and away the best performance at Glastonbury 99 and if for some reason the world had ended, after seeing REM I would have felt absolutely fine.
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