In July 2007, R.E.M. booked five nights of shows at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre and dubbed the performances as a “working rehearsal” as they tested out new tunes in front of small crowds of die-hards.
Many of the songs from the concerts ended up on R.E.M.’s 2008 album Accelerate, and now the highlights from the five shows will be featured on the upcoming double-disc set Live at the Olympia, due out Oct. 27.
In addition to the 39 tracks from the show, a deluxe version of Olympia will feature concert and backstage footage from French director Vincent Moon. A sampling of Moon’s work can be seen in his video for “Living Well Is The Best Revenge,” the opening track on both Accelerate and Live at the Olympia, above.
The set includes embryonic versions of Accelerate tracks – the single “Supernatural Superserious” is still called by its original name “Disguised” on this collection – but Olympia also features hits like “So. Central Rain” and “Drive,” plus deeper cuts from the band’s discography like “Disturbance At the Heron House” and four-fifths of their debut Chronic Town EP. There’s also two still-unreleased Accelerate-era tracks, “On the Fly” and “Staring Down the Barrel of the Middle Distance.”