Commercially and critically, R surely has to be recognised as one of the most successful letters in the modern musical era. A micropauser is truly spoiled for choice. Open up and say….R!
Lou Reed: Dirty Boulevard (live in New York, 1998)
My sole encounter with Lou Reed was an acoustic show in a tent in Skibbereen, Ireland during the 1998 Liss Ard festival. Having held my ground in the second row for a few hours, I lost control of my smuggled camera and blinded Lou with the flash. Fortunately he didn’t walk off, but he did a summon a very large gentleman from the wings who came down to me and said “Lou wants you to stop now”. Glad I didn’t spoil his good mood. He played half of Transformer, a couple of VU songs, and more recent songs, including this one – a perfect night.
Radiohead: Idioteque (live at Glastonbury, 2003)
Apart from Creep, which I dismissed as some MTV fodder, OK Computer was my introduction to Radiohead, and made me the Radiohead completist I am today. The electronica of Kid A was unlike anything they had released before, but in concert, Radiohead brought these songs alive.
Rolling Stones: Sympathy For The Devil (live in Austin, 2006)
Where to start with these guys? The 1968-72 years would be a good place – Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street. No wonder they stopped trying. I spent 1997 in Moscow, and I was introduced to Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, which soon became my favourite book. I discovered later that this was part of the inspiration for Sympathy For The Devil, one of the many highlights from their golden years.
R.E.M: It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (1987)
Similarly to Radiohead, I was introduced to R.E.M. through a hit single (The One I Love) that I heard so much on the radio, it put me off wanting to know any more about R.E.M. Wrong! During a series of uninspiring Finance Law lectures a friend managed to convince me to give them a try – and I became a R.E.M. completist as well. And I feel fine.
Roxy Music: Virginia Plain (1972)
One of my favourite songs, I never thought I’d be present for the final performance of this classic by Roxy Music, but it seems that their show at an Auckland winery in March 2011 may be the last time that Roxy Music takes the stage. Love the end of that organ solo by Eno at about 2.33. I always thought that the early Split Enz guys were doing similar music at the same time without the acclaim. Guess it’s not just about timing, but location as well.