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R.E.M. Grand Hotel, Stockholm 9.11.98,

by Stian Ruud, Norway.

It was huge! My biggest experience ever! I don't know where to begin...? =) It was at this really classy snobby Grand Hotel, where also REM lived during the stay...We stood in a rather small que, and then signed our name to the REM-guest list..Really cool...When we were inside the hall where REM should play, we ran to the front and stood there waiting for an hour and half...Then suddenly a few meters right in front of me Michael Stipe and the rest of the band entered...I couldn't believe my eyes...I had really deep eye-contact with Michael when he arrived(I felt so) and he smiled. He said "Hello" and then got into Losing my religion. Ooh my godness what a feeling! Michael and the rest of the band was in a really good mood during the whole concert. Actually the concert was planned to last for an hour, but it lasted for 2 hours!

Michael made jokes all the time and especially when the television and the radion was cut of. But what he didn't know was that they were on air all the time…He talked about the Coala bear was the most important animal on earth and so on.After Daysleeper he asked us: "What time is it?" And many of us was looking at our watches, and he says: "It's right now…That's what time it is…and we're all here…and it's kinda great!"

They walk out after Walk Unafraid, but comes back the minute after claming they had to pee. Then the play a great version of Man on the moon and said goodbye televison…And then..this is really cool…I alone started: R.E.M., R.E.M., R.E.M, and so on…and then the whole crowd of 500 people shouted along with me…I got the chills in a big way! And you can hear it on the radio, first me alone and then more and more..It's true….I got it on tape and when I played it for my friends we had a good laugh…=). Then Michael arrive the stage alone with his guitar and sings the beutiful co-song of Diminished: I'm not over you…I was really inspired after the thing that happend a couple of minuts ago and took up my little poster that I had put into my pants…It was a poster in A3 format where I asked: CAN YOU PLAY LONG ROAD? You know the beutiful Pearl Jam song that Michael and Peter have played a couple of times earlier….And Micheal read the poster and said to me: "No, Sorry". It was kind of cool, even though they didn't play it… My highlight of the day was when they played the beutiful ballad County Feedback from Out of time. It was awesome! Michael sat down on his knees and was really into the music, with his eyes closed and his head jaming along with the song…He sang: It's crazy what you could have had…I need this…I need this…. I love the lyrics to the song….

They got out again, and me and another pal from Sweden [I think], started along: We want more, We want more,…and suddenly the whole crowd was with us…Cool…They played a ten minute version of Iggy Pop's Passenger. Michael gave the microphone to the audience and sang along..

After the show, the 5 lucky people from my bus was going to meet them…And I went up to the floor where I had heard that REM stayed. I met Ken Stringfellow(bass-guitar), and Scott McCaughey…But none of the orignal REM…But then….suddenly…Peter Buck came walking towards me!! I asked for his autograph and I told him that it was me biggest experience ever and asked if it was right that they only had planned to play for an hour…He said yes, but we had such a great time, that we couldn't stop…He told me to have a nice trip back to Norway…It was cool!!

After half an hour one of the crew-members said "Hi" to me as I sat at a bench, where I had met Peter…He asked me what I thought of the concert, and where I was from, studying and so on. He was really kind. He told me that he was REM's accounter and he gave me his exlusive backstage-pass as a souvenir. And said he'd see me next time…

So then I went down to the bus, outside the hotel and drove back to Trondheim in Norway…

This are the songs that they played: Losing my relegion Lotus New Test Leper Daysleeper Elecrtolite (!) At my most beutiful The Apologist So. Central Rain Walk Unafraid Man on the moon I'm not over you Fall on me Parakeet Perfect Circle Country Feedback Pretty Persuasion Strange Radio Free Europe Passenger (Iggy Pop)