Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US

Nov
25
1997

Athens, Georgia - R.E.M. hospitality.

Athens, Georgia - R.E.M. hospitality. Wining, dining and dodgy home videos provide a warm welcome for Willie and Joe.

Joe & I took a flight from San Antonio to Atlanta, where Bruce met us in a rented car. We headed out to Athens, Georgia, home of R.E.M., where we planned to stay the night. Bertis Downs, the band's manager, had invited us for dinner which sounded like a great plan. On arrival at the picturesque little Bed & Breakfast place where we were staying, we got a call from Bertis saying that Michael Stipe and a few friends were in town and keen to see us, so could we meet at his house first. So, over to Bertis's house, where he & his wife Katherine proudly showed us their new baby daughter before we descended into the wine cellar. The Downs wine cellar is a) very large and b) very well stocked with fabulous wines. Not wishing to waste any time we ploughed in and sampled some very fine vintages. And then some more. And then some more. Michael arrived with three friends and we settled into the living room, as Bert continued to bring in more bottles. We were all loving life by the time we finally left to eat.

Dinner was at "The Grit", an Athens landmark low-key veggie place. Whilst we were there, Lance Bangs, one of the R.E.M. film makers arrived, and we ended up going back to his place. Lance lives in a converted schoolhouse, which looks like a scene from the Young Ones. The place is jammed with video tapes, arcade games, ping pong table, strange art installations, pictures, papers and Polaroids everywhere.

Lance entertained us with stories about a local Nubian religious order who were building pyramids out in the Georgia wilderness, and with highlights from his alternative movie collection, including the epic "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" and the legendary bootlegged home video of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's honeymoon, which was pretty horrifying. I'd heard rumour that this tape existed - Pam & Tommy's home movie of themselves consummating their marriage. Let me tell you, it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

Rolled back to our B&B in the wee small hours, feeling restored into the heart of Athens life. What wonderful, mad, inspiring and utterly nice people they all are.

Related Topics

Current News

07 May, 2009
The opening night of the tour in Barcelona is only weeks away so no better time for a reminder of life on the road.
7
20 Dec, 2006
Rocko Reedy on the night his band opened up for U2.
20 Dec, 2006
How Come? Well, Tamara Kendall from the UK won the 'Hunt The Lyric' competition for those return flights and tickets ...
12 Dec, 2006
The one hundred and thirty first Vertigo show and it was one to remember. Report, photos.
11 Dec, 2006
Wonderful closing night with Pearl Jam in Hawaii and lots of surprise touches as Vertigo 05/06 comes to a close ...
06 Dec, 2006
The U2 support act you've never heard of. (Until Hawaii that is.)
05 Dec, 2006
New backstage shots before showtime in Tokyo.

Eric Clapton was at the final Tokyo show on Monday and chatted with Edge ...
04 Dec, 2006
Video of the band playing 'Window in the Skies' for Japanese TV at the weekend.

Current News

08 Dec, 2014
Additional dates confirmed in New York, Chicago, Boston, Montreal, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris.
08 Dec, 2014
11 Films of Innocence airing for 24 hours ... plus 12th, special to U2.com subscribers.
6
08 Dec, 2014
Tickets for the U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour on general sale this morning.
03 Dec, 2014
On the road in 2015, playing indoor arenas for the first time in a decade. Cities, dates, tickets, presales.
183
02 Dec, 2014
U2 Minus 1 hosted some pretty special guests to mark World AIDS Day.
17
01 Dec, 2014
Friends step in to save U2’s surprise World AIDS Day (RED) performance...
34
27 Nov, 2014
Live From the MTV EMA in Glasgow. Every Breaking Wave.
31
25 Nov, 2014
Rare live set from 1980, now on double vinyl and digitally remastered. Introducing our 2014/15 subscription offer.