Sunday 11 December 2022

R.E.M. - A Clown On A Circus Mount (Live 1984)

University of East Anglia, Norwich, 23 November 1984 

01 Femme Fatale
02 Moral Kiosk
03 Gardening At Night
04 9-9
05 Windout 
06 Old Man Kensey           
07 So Central Rain (I'm Sorry)           
08 Seven Chinese Bros.           
09 (Don't Go Back To) Rockville           
10 Thanks To The Lucy Show           
11 Hyena           
12 Swing Low Sweet Chariot/Sitting Still           
13 Auctioneer (Another Engine)           
14 Talk About The Passion           
15 Pretty Persuasion 
16 Little America           
17 Moon River           
18 Second Guessing           
19 Bandwagon           
20 We Walk/After Hours           
21 1,000,000           
22 Ghostriders In The Sky           
23 See No Evil           
24 Wendell Gee           
25 Just A Touch  

Dream Remastered @ Reflecting Sound Studios, Southampton, England, Winter 2020.


R.E.M sold almost no records for the first ten years of their existence, and became 'The biggest rock group in the world' for the second ten.

Despite their debut album 'Murmur' receiving five star reviews, accolades and front covers of ther music press, it had only sold around 200,000 copies. It failed to break the Top 100 in the UK and was only a moderate success in the USA. Their record company I.R.S felt the album had under-performed sales wise and the band faced pressure to deliver a more successful follow-up. 'Reckoning' was well titled, the band had booked a month of studio time for their second album.

In the autumn of 1983, the band made their first-ever trip to Europe. They appeared on UK television on Channel 4's 'The Tube' performing Radio Free Europe, South Central Rain & Talk About The Passion. It began a promo drive but poor distribution and infrequent airplay meant there was little support. Reckoning did well in the USA reaching #27 on the album chart but only #91 in the UK by any standards a poor commercial result.

The 1984 tour was the band's fourth year on the road and like most bands of the era, drink and drugs were taking their toll. 

During the Reckoning tour, new material already demoed and worked on during sound checks, would be inserted into the set. 'Driver 8', replete with more surf-style guitars, was a fast and furious song in their old musical tradition but Stipe's focus was changing. His new material would reflect an introverted and deep connection with the myths and legends of America's past, a sort of American gothic in sound. It was time to change the sonic landcape and refresh the group's lyrical matter. (source R.E.M. | Fiction An Alternative Biography by David Buckley, Virgin Books 2002)

For those fans of R.E.M who especially like the first two albums and the 'Chronic Town EP' this is one show that is an absolute necessity for your collection. It's a really superb soundboard with a great mix. This recording captures the point of change as mentioned above by author David Buckley and includes three early versions of tracks that would appear on the third album 'Fables of The Reconstruction', released on 10 June, 1985.


Original Notes & Review by Eric Zimmermann

The Norwich show was a bit of a surprise when I first laid my hands on it. There are two versions of this show, a more normal audience-sounding version, which is a full version of the show, and the soundboard version that is missing two songs (Driver 8 and Radio Free Europe).

This review is on the soundboard show.  
When I first ran across this show in Low Yo Yo’s I had not been aware that this even existed.

I thought that on many of the soundboards that were done during the tours supporting 'Reckoning' were very vocal shy. This performance has plenty of Stipe and his mumbling and sounds like a more intimate venue. 

There are a few key moments that should be cherished on this performance. First off, it is the first time that the band performed Bandwagon, and out of all the performances of this particular song (only fifteen live) this is the best copy out there.  

The second standout performance Wendell Gee would definitely be one of the top two performances and was performed only twelve times live!

It is unfortunate that R.E.M. has failed to come to terms with Wendell Gee, truly one of the most beautiful and more stunning songs in the R.E.M. catalog. 

From what I understand, Peter had some issues with the song and never liked it. Mike Mills did perform it a couple years ago when he also sung the infamous Eagle Song, and claimed to have written it. 

Looking back on ‘Fables of the Reconstruction’, I felt that the song has always been a great bookend to that album.

Otherwise this boot contains pretty much a standard fare of R.E.M. songs for the Reckoning Tour.
The beginning of the show starts off quite odd with Femme Fatale which makes it interesting.

They also threw in Moral Kiosk, which had pretty much been eliminated from the setlists by this time of the tour, and there is a nice rendition of We Walk close to the end of the show that always is fun with Stipe doing his Behind Closed Door rendition; albeit this time around I think he is spending more time in a library.

The song quickly gets transformed into the Velvets After Hours, before kicking it up a notch with Chronic Town’s“ 1,000,000. A couple of standard covers, the aforementioned Wendell Gee, and Just a Touch, close out the show.

This show has always been underrated in my opinion, and should be in every R.E.M. fans collection.

part one

part two