One of the more memorable April Fools Day pranks played by the R.E.M. guys was in the year 1989 at the old OMNI of Atlanta…
Check out the awesome The R.E.M. Timeline for the best account we could find of the deal that night:
1 April 1989 – The Omni, Atlanta, GA
support: Indigo Girls
Indigo Girls set included: Kid Fears
R.E.M.: Pop Song 89 / Exhuming McCarthy / Welcome To The Occupation / Turn You Inside-Out / Shaking Through / Orange Crush / Disturbance At The Heron House / Feeling Gravitys Pull / Time After Time (Annelise) / World Leader Pretend / Begin The Begin / I Believe / Pretty Persuasion / Get Up / Auctioneer (Another Engine) / It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
encore 1: Stand / Wolves, Lower / Academy Fight Song / You Are The Everything
encore 2: Finest Worksong / King Of Birds / These Days
encore 3: Perfect Circle / After Hours
notes: Prior to ‘Stand’ in the first encore, the album version of ‘Radio Free Europe’ plays over the PA. When the lights come up, R.E.M. are nowhere to be seen, but there are life-size cardboard cut-outs of each band member (as well as Peter Holsapple) placed in their usual stage positions. R.E.M. then emerge from the wings, with Mike Mills announcing “April Fools”. The band then perform ‘Stand’ alongside their cardboard companions. Michael joins the Indigo Girls on ‘Kid Fears’ on their opening set.
The cutouts are now in the HQ office and the guys still look great. Mercer wondered if the joke fell a little flat– get it!?
Happy April Fools Day from everyone at HQ