R.E.M. released their debut EP Chronic Town a whopping 40 years ago, and in celebration of the anniversary, a star-studded lineup of musicians and fans convened in the band’s Athens, Georgia hometown for a tribute event last night.
Hosted by comedian David Cross, most of the night consisted of R.E.M. members Peter Buck and Mike Mills playing with a house band, which itself included Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson and Sven Pipien, as well as Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin on drums.
The night also boasted tribute performances from the likes of Fred Armisen, Hootie and the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker, Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, Indigo Girls, Robinson’s son Quinn, Drivin N Cryin’s Kevn Kinney, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris, and Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins.
The show’s finale brought a big crew onstage to do a cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls” together. And, the cherry on top: Proceeds of the show benefitted Planned Parenthood. Catch some fan-captured clips of the R.E.M. Chronic Town 40th anniversary event below.
Don’t expect a full-blown R.E.M. reunion, however: Last year, frontman Michael Stipe said the band — who officially broke up in 2011 — would “never reunite.” However, he and Mills recently chatted with Consequence’s Kyle Meredith about their 1996 album New Adventures in Hi-Fi in honor of its 25th anniversary.