Music DVDs

Music DVDs

R.E.M.

REMTV (Rhino)

R.E.M. and MTV were birthed at the same time. The Athens, Ga., quartet released its first single in July 1981, and the music channel debuted Aug. 1. At the time, the latter probably didn't even know of the band's existence, but as this 6-DVD set proves, they learned to love one another. That's nearly 15 hours of video originally broadcast on MTV or affiliated channels VH1, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, most of it recorded after R.E.M.'s rise to superstardom with Out of Time in 1991. Which is not to say there's nothing here for early followers of the band. The prime attraction for fans of all stripes will be the nearly two-hour doc, a mostly excellent telling of their tale from scruffy party band at the University of Georgia to induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Its only weak spot is glossing over of the band's breakup in 2011. There's also a segment from the show I.R.S. Records' The Cutting Edge in 1984 perfectly capturing the band, with close-ups of a long-haired singer Michael Stipe and their initial stance of mumbled lyrics over high-concept folk rock. That makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the band's appearance on VH1 Storytellers in 1998, when they're expected to talk about lyrics no one's ever understood. The R&RHOF induction by Eddie Vedder, featuring prodigal drummer Bill Berry and his unibrow, finds the band genuinely touched. A 2001 concert in Cologne, Germany, with seemingly the entire city in attendance and an expanded version of the group completely filling a huge stage, finds all involved awestruck.

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