The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 21

R.E.M. + Husker Du | Harvard University Indoor Track Center | March 22, 1984
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

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Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü
R.E.M. were on IRS and touring constantly at larger and larger club venues and colleges, but they were still linked to the underground from which they’d emerged. It wasn’t uncommon for them to bring along a largely unknown punk band like Hüsker Dü as an opening act. So when three unkempt guys, two overweight, one shoeless, took the stage and started tuning their instruments, it really looked like the roadies were getting things ready for the band. Ten minutes later, the same three guys were playing “Diane,” and let’s just say the distance between the band and the audience was cut in half. That’s what made early R.E.M. shows like this so memorable: it was the sense of discovery. R.E.M. were still in their shy phase, which meant Peter Buck would ham it up and Michael Stipe might dance like an awkward art student or lie down behind the drum kit. But they were a band with power. The sound was terrible that night. But the vibe was intense and amazing and unforgettable.
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