Monday, February 15, 2010

Indigo Girls with Michael Stipe “Kid Fears”

It was Spring 1990, and my college roommates and I had picked up tickets to The Worcester Centrum to see R.E.M. We were pretty dare excited, since a love of the band had played a large part in forging our friendship in the dorms of UMass Amherst.

So as not to miss a minute, we were sure to be on the scene very early and we caught the opening act, some band I’d never heard of.

It’s funny, 20 years later, to remember a time when I didn’t know who the Indigo Girls were. But at the time of this story, I was open ears, and ready to be impressed.

Not surprisingly, they won me over pretty quickly, but the most entertaining part of the night, was when, part-way through the start of a somewhat dark song, a figure emerged from the shadows to join the girls.

Michael Stipe’s soaring vocals joined a song I’d later learn was “Kid Fears.”

From the moment he opened his mouth, the crowd---who was there to see R.E.M., not this no-name opening band---went wild. Seeing Stipe an hour earlier than planned just sent them into spasms of fan-ecstacy.

Then another figure emerged from the shadows. An audible gasp rose from the crowd. Then waves of applause.

Mike Mills? Bill Berry? Peter Buck?

No, it turned out to be a roadie, carrying out an extra mic stand.

Sheepishly, he waved to the crowd, and with a big smile on his face, he faded back into the shadows.

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