2009/03/14

R.E.M. TRIBUTE CONCERT AT CARNEGIE: A RECKONING

One downside to being a lifelong R.E.M. completist (besides Around the Sun) is the compulsion to buy R.E.M. tribute albums.

We own Athens's finest as reinterpreted by a cheesy classical guitarist, some bluegrass opportunists, a self-debasing Royal Philharmonic, and finally, in a collection called Surprise Your Pig, a bunch of early-nineties indie rockers who clearly hate R.E.M.

So we had our fears about last night's "Tribute to R.E.M." concert at Carnegie Hall, which entrusted some of rock's hardest-to-improve-upon tunes to everyone from the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson to Darius Rucker, a.k.a. Hootie.

The result was, for the most part, shockingly decent; the individual song-performer pairings are graded below, with no pretense of objectivity.

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