I decided to think of 30 places meaningful to the band over the years– so what follows is not by any means comprehensive– no way it could be that. It is more of a memory exercise, aided occasionally by the amazing chronology of R.E.M. performances found at R.E.M. Timeline — but rather than just listing all the shows I wanted to offer up my impressions of places for a band and group of people who are lucky enough to have many more than one home away from home. So many places listed here provide highlights enough for a complete career, and there are a lot of them. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it and enthusiastically congratulate the band on its latest milestone of thirty years of music and fun together. And to all who have been there along the way, grateful thanks to you too.

Dublin: what can we say? The Point, Slane, SFX, RDS, MCD, Oxegen, Dalkey, Olympias, Luttrellstown, Pat, Jacknife, U2, Lansdowne Road, Grouse Lodge — a certain rugby match– EIRE wins! A career here

Prague: took a while to get there but something about it, the bridge where we heard Jerry Garcia’d died– took 3 times to play one show in 1995; Dvorak on the river, Jem Cohen’s E-bow the Letter video, trams

Berlin: Metropol, the Waldbuhne, one of the great outdoor performance spaces anywhere, even in the usual downpour, with Radiohead there, c.1995 and The Bends, late dinners in that amazing town, Hanza

Chapel Hill: and the first show all the way back to Carrboro and The Station, then Memorial Hall, a couple of Dean Domes back when it was new, the Cat’s Cradle and the 20th anniversary of Chronic Town

DC: 9:30 (old one F Street) too many times to count, GW Smith Ctr, Environmental reception- Sen Fowler (D-GA), Cap Center, Constitution Hall, Tibet Freedom/lightning, Vote for Change Merriweather Post many eras

NYC: Michael’s town, Ritz with Go4, Mudd Club, Danceteria, Felt Forum, Garden(s), Radio City, Beacon, CMJ, Irriquoix, 1 room! Jones Beach, Spyz, Maxwell’s, SNL, Nassau (Beat/Squeeze), Shea Stadium

SF: I-Beam, Keystones, Warfield–Michael on a crutch, Kabuki, Waldorf, Shoreline, UP at Toast, Berkeley Greek in the rain and dry (we like dry), ’89 Earthquake, Oakland, Neil & Pegi Young– Bridge Shows

Seattle: Peter’s town, Bumbershoot, The Music Hall, The Paramount, The Gorge, Sasquatch, Bad Animals, New Adventures, 1996, Belltown and Pike Market, FAO Benefit, Key Arena, Pearl Jam, Fall 2001

Cologne: tour ground to halt here summer 1995, got to know the city well then, returned many times since, television and press capital of Germany, MTV Free Show May 2001 at the Cathedral, one specacle

New Orleans: Music Shed and Jacknife, Voodoo Fest, Bonerama, Beat Exchange, Tupelo’s, Lakefront, Kingsway, Saenger Auditorium, first Mac, Automatic, Monster, Tipitina’s, Baton Rouge, FMC

London: Dingwall’s,Camden Town, Marquee, Odeon, Palais, Apollo, Fables, Apple store, Glasto twice,Trafalgar Square, Anton, Mandela, Live 8, Hyde Park, bombings, Twicks, Earl’s Ct,Wembley Arena, Brixton

Istanbul: 2008: took a while to finally get there but worth the wait! stayed in Europe, ate in Asia, boat in between, amazing food, Blue Mosque, show on the Bosphorus, Biden-Palin debate all nighter together

Athens: MTV Greece Day, old Olympic Stadium, once before years ago in a park near town, intensity of fans ala Spain or Italy, last time in middle of the night arrival, all-day at show, last show of tour– late/early

Athens: hometown, even with distance, listening parties, neighborhoods, Prince Ave, 40 Watt(s), Georgia Theatre, University, WUOG, Memorial Hall, Legion Field, Stitchcraft, Koffee Klub, the church, Tyrone’s

Atlanta: 65 miles of bad road, old 688, Agora, Chastain, Fox Theatre shows ending tours, Piedmont Arts, L.E.A.F. Bft closing 1989, OMNI now Phillips, Civic Ctr New Years with Love Tractor, Lakewood last

LA: Mike’s town,Madame Wong’s, Music Machine, Lingerie, IRS, Warners, the Palace long ago & again with Up, Beverly, Wiltern, Hollywood Bowl,Greeks, MTV Awards (t-shirts), Palladium, Forum, Universal

Oxford: where we first met up with Jacknife Lee when Peter was on tour with Robyn Hitchcock and it made sense to rendezvous there; it was raining; Jacknife came to Athens and Accelerate was on the way

Scotland: from Barrowlands to Loch Lomond and Murrayfield and the SEC booked a few times but . . . . and a circus tent in a park in Glasgow, Stirling Castle and the film in the rain, T in the Park twice

Capetown: another one that took a while to get to and so glad we made it there, show in a bike-racing arena I think, incredible culture, wine farms an hour away, OXFAM, then on to Durban and Johannesburg

Hamburg: the lakes, Arena, always well looked after in this northern capital, from the Knust to Grossefreitstrasse, the Horse Riding Stadium to Arena park, Markthalle, fan club shows, never a bad time here

Auckland: probably the best show on the 1995 tour at the Western Bowl, muddy and wild and something clicked between band and crowd early on, some returns but not enough, “The Piano” beach

Copenhagen: always a favorite stop since earliest EUR trips, design, film, fashion, Roskilde, Saga Theatre, Forum, Parken Stadium, KBH Film Festival: Vincent Moon retrospective, Tivoli Gardens

Boston: The Rat, MIT, The Metro, The Paradise, Replacements opening a run, The Orpheum, Boston Garden (old and new same year– 1989?), Fleet Centers, Red Sox win, Great Woods/Tweeter, Harvard

Chicago: Cubby Bear, XRT, Jam, Rosemount, The Metro, UI-C Pavillion, Aragon Ballroom, Park West, United Center, Chicago Theatre, The Vic, Champaign, Cubs, Lincoln Park, the loop, the lakeshore

Charlotte: Milestone, Reflection, Murmur and Reckoning, Don and Mitch, thriftstores, Park Center with the Minutemen, the old Charlotte Coliseum, near enough to Winston-Salem and the Drive-In Studio, Davidson

Paris: La Bain Douche, Thanksgiving night 1983– first time on the continent, La Cigale, Bercy, home of Vincent Moon, Takeaway Shows, radio/tv/fan club shows, Grand Rex, Rock en Seine,

Milan: Rolling Stone, fan club shows always, Palatrussardi, Forum, La Scala (spectating only– alas), close enough to Bologna, Verona and Imola sites of outdoor wonders of shows over the years, MTV Sonic

Vienna: press from all the former East, stadium, arena, club shows for fan clubs, State Opera House for the Jazz Fastival, with Patti Smith, Schoenbrunn Palace, near outdoor festivals Graz and Salzburg

Geneva area: Lausanne, fortunate, the lake, the hospital, Evian, Montreux many times, playing once, Paleo twice, close to outdoor gems of Locarno, St Gallen, forever a special place because of the doctors

Madrid: arguably the best shows of several tours– 1995 and 2008 among them, crowds always there fully, Miguel Bose tv show one of the best ever by R.E.M., stadium, arena, bullring, the park there Retiro

Vancouver: many good records made here, great neighborhoods, Commodore Ballroom to GM Place, Warehouse, The Armoury, Granville Island, Kitsalano, the sea wall, Stanley Park, sea planes, like home

-Bertis Downs