Michael Stipe Surprises Everyone With First Show Since R.E.M. Split

Ex R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe is back on the horse. The singer performed an unannounced six-song set opening for Patti Smith yesterday (AEDT) at Webster Hall in NYC, his first show after R.E.M.’s break-up in 2011.

The singer, who in a recent interview with CBS This Morning promised that he would “sing again”, has stayed true to his word. The set included some recovered R.E.M. gems, including Saturn Returns and New Test Leper, as well as covers of Perfume Genius’ Hood, Patti Smith’s Wing, Vic Chesnutt’s Lucinda Williams, and everyone’s go-to karaoke fave New York, New York.

Stipe kicked off the set with New Test Leper, citing the late Lou Reed as inspiration for the song. “When I wrote this song I realised that I had done something that I had been trying to do for 22 years, which is inspired by the great people who are no longer with us,” he said. “I wanted to write a song that started with ‘Jesus’.”

You can view and listen to some of the set below.

Listen: Michael Stipe – New Test Leper & Saturn Return

Watch: Michael Stipe – Lucinda Williams (Vic Chesnutt cover)

Watch: Michael Stipe – Hood (Perfume Genius cover)

Watch: Michael Stipe – New York, New York

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