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R.E.M. Performing in Serbia-Montenegro

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro – Greeting members of the rock band R.E.M. in his Belgrade office, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic said he’s a fan and requested that his favorite song, “Orange Crush,” be played at their concert Friday.

Youthful and soft-spoken, Tadic, 46, is at the helm of a democratic leadership striving to open the troubled Balkan republic to the West after years of ostracism and isolation during the rule of Yugoslavia’s ex-President Slobodan Milosevic.

Bringing world-famous artists to the country is part of that effort, said Nebojsa Krstic, head of Tadic’s press team.

Krstic said Tadic has been a fan of R.E.M. since the band’s early days in the 1980s.

On Thursday, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe presented Tadic with a copy of the band’s new CD and Tadic gave the band a CD of Serbian ethnic music, “Serbia Sounds Global,” saying he hoped the exotic sound might inspire new hits.

R.E.M.’s sold-out concert was billed as the main rock event in Serbia in 2005.

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