R.E.M. never forgot the lilí town where they started ... they surprised their hometown of Athens, GA, this past Sun. (Oct. 21) when they showed up to play a few songs for the Land Aid festival. The festival, which took place in front of the Athens Clarke County courthouse, was organized by the Athens Green Coalition (www.athensgrowgreen.com) ñ a group of Athens citizens, environmental organizations, and other concerned groups trying to urge Athens-Clarke county commissioners to pass zoning standards that protect the environment, reduce sprawl, and preserve a high quality of life.
Frontman Michael Stipe took the stage with a boombox and sang a new song, "Iíve Been High," to a backing track. Peter Buck and Mike Mills then joined him on the steps of the courthouse for the classic tracks "Fall on Me" (from Lifeís Rich Pageant) and the mega-selling, muzak-inspiring "Losing My Religion" (from Out of Time). Before exiting, Stipe had a few words for the crowd - "Obviously we consider Athens to be a very special
town, and most of us want to keep it that way ... progress is not a bad thing. But it seems to me that a lot of
people in power have one question, 'How can the maximum dollars be
squeezed out of every acre of land?" Practicing what they preach, the band also recently purchased the famed trestle in Athens (pictured on the back cover of their album Murmur) to keep it from being destroyed.
Source: NME Online