Dublin was not a show. And this is not Stipe’s pouty face.

So every time R.E.M. releases an album, there’s a party in Athens. It’s been a tradition since Automatic for the People for the party to also act as a benefit.

I’ve been to three other release parties, R.E.M. Live at Cine, Accelerate at the Melting Point (soon after which I officially met Gordon Lamb while buying my album an hour early…oops), and the Murmur 25th Anniversary show. No, I wasn’t at Finest Worksongs and yes, I’ll be kicking myself for a long time for that.

Anywho, this party is being held at the shiny new Rialto Room in the Hotel Indigo. It’s a completely different atmosphere than the 40 Watt but it’s a nice place built for sound. For any out of towners, the hotel is giving a special room rate to anyone who’s staying for the party. Nifty.

These things almost always include an auction. While I can barely scrape up enough funds to even get in, those with deeper pockets can go after a signed Rickenbacker JetGlo 360 (with case!), the model Peter Buck plays. Also worthy of note, signed limited edition artwork and posters. Usually there are a few neat odds and ends around too. The Accelerate release party had a street sign to auction, a few extra pieces from other bands (signed of course), and a “Bad Day” coffee mug that I unfortunately missed getting by a dollar. There’s also a raffle.

Probably my favorite aspect is the limited edition shirt. Each year, they come up with a new design that is sold only at the event. I’m starting a fine collection of nerdiness in my closet. They’re usually not your typical black/white shirts. I’m fond of my maroon colored one..

We’ll be listening to the album and we’ll get to see a screening of some R.E.M. video of the performances in Dublin. Most of the footage was shot by Vincent Moon and Jeremiah. If you haven’t seen the “Take Away Shows” or the Ninety Nights footage, you’re missing out. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I dare you to watch “On the Fly” or “Sing for the Submarine” and not get chills.

So who exactly is all this fuss for? Well, this one’s for Community Connection of NorthEast Georgia and Family Connection/Communities in Schools of Athens. They’re both phenomenal programs. As usual, we have the fantastic Jeff Montgomery to thank for getting all of this organized. Tickets and any more info you need can be found here.

If you’re like me, you didn’t get to go to Dublin and watch R.E.M. You may have also been teased by your boss because of it. But no worries. The party can’t replace that but outbidding your boss on a one of a kind R.E.M. mug cause he’s too busy bragging about Dublin? Now that’s priceless.

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