Michael Stipe onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo, London when R.E.M. performed there in September 2004.
Mark Mawston recalls, "REM were the soundtrack to a whole generation, the one my friends and I and the band itself, grew up in. Their songs and albums are time capsules, where a simple mandolin cord can bring with it a memory as fresh as yesterday, so perhaps ear should replace eye in the meaning of the band’s name (the Rapid Eye Movement you have when you dream). As it became possible to cover more gigs and meet more of my heroes, my wish list of who I needed to shoot, those important to me, constantly changed as artists and bands from that list were fulfilled but for some time REM was the band I wanted to cover photo-wise.
When I finally did get to take their picture, in September 2004, it wasn’t at a stadium but thankfully at a benefit gig at the Hammersmith Apollo in London where the band was literally just a few feet away. I’d seen the band several times before that and thought that they were better as a studio band, although I’d been told the opposite by many other people. My opinion was based on the fact that I thought that a support band I saw at their Milton Keynes Bowl for their Monster tour was better than REM on that occasion, a small band called Radiohead. Thankfully I was proved wrong on this latter occasion, with the benefit of having my camera in hand.
The band was on fire, with Michael Stipe up there with Bowie and Arthur Lee in the team heading the league of cool rock stars. They really were excellent and the intimate music they played from their yet to be launched album Around The Sun matched the fact that you felt that they were playing in your living room, a fact even Stipe commented on. Although these pictures capture the band in full flow as they worked their way through one of the best back catalogues in pop, it was the purity of some of the slower numbers that stick in the mind, especially Leaving New York which they played live here for the first time and became a favourite of mine. It was a privilege to be there, not just as a photographer, but to record the moment, at one of their very last UK gigs, as a fan."
This print is from a limited edition of 100. Each print is numbered, signed by Mark Mawston, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
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