Many have probably heard the sad news of the terrible fire at the Georgia Theatre this morning in downtown Athens, just a block away from where we work at REMHQ. We have enjoyed a really good relationship with the wonderful people at the Theatre all these years, and our thoughts and support are with them as they decide how to move forward from here.

No question the biggest R.E.M.-related evening at the Theatre had to be when the band played after the Possibilities and Jim McKay’s great film Girlstown at a benefit/surprise show for Community Connection in October, 2001 (read story); R.E.M. playing: it was a perfect warm up for the guys who were getting ready to play Neil Young’s Bridge Concert and a United Nations Food Program Benefit in Seattle a week or so later . . . and the Possibilities honored the occasion by playing an entire set of Neil Young covers, which they did quite well… In April 2005, the guys, including Bill Berry on bass, played Country Feedback at the Theatre following a Minus Five show.

The Georgia Theatre has also been the site of numerous “Athens-only” ticket sales for R.E.M. shows in Atlanta over the years. The Theatre staff has always been extremely gracious in allowing us to set up shop for an afternoon to hold these sales, and we trust that the fans of the band who have taken advantage of the opportunity to buy good seats before they go on sale to the rest of the world have appreciated the venue’s efforts. Many fans will remember that the band also held a number of their album release parties as benefits for Community Connection there in the past too, most notably the listening parties for Monster, New Adventures In Hi-Fi, Up, and Reveal.

All of us here certainly wish Wilmot Greene and his staff the best of luck and godspeed in their efforts to rebuild the Athens landmark.

For more, check out these stories:

Beyond The Trestle

Julie Phillips’ blog

Online Athens