I’m in a time-machine mode here, and it sometimes happens when we think of a New Year; I guess I can’t help but see a greater connection with the past as I get a bit older. With that in mind, I came across this live footage of R.E.M. on the German TV program Rockpalast in 1985. 

There are several things about this video that are fascinating to me. R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe with hair, and with a rather poorly thought out dye job; but more important, this footage captures very early R.E. M. – the band plays songs from Chronic Town to Fables of the Reconstruction. You’ll also see a couple of interesting covers – during the first encore, they cover one of my favorite Television songs, “See No Evil,” and during the second encore they cover the Rolling Stones’ classic “Paint It Black." 

It’s some fascinating footage – the sort of footage that a number of R.E.M. fans have considered beloved.