Over a decade after filming a second installment of R.E.M. for Unplugged, MTV has released video of the group performing “I’ve Been High.” In the new clip, a dapper-looking Michael Stipe tenderly sings the song, which appeared on the group’s 2001 LP Reveal, over organ and strummed guitar. In contrast to the original version, which featured layers of electronic squiggles, symphonic strings and a propulsive beat, the Unplugged performance sounds rootsy and restrained, providing a different, more subdued, side to the song.
The band, which called it quits in 2011, released both of their Unplugged sets on vinyl for Record Store Day this past weekend as a 4-LP set, Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions. The pioneering alt-rock band is the only group in the series’ history to make a second appearance. The quadruple album included 11 songs, including “I’ve Been High,” that did not make it to air in either broadcast. The majority of the previously unreleased material comes from Reveal and the band’s 1998 album Up, in addition to a somber performance of the 1987 single “The One I Love.” The set will be released in digital and CD configurations on May 20th.
The band’s original members, with the exception of Stipe, reunited last November at one of guitarist Peter Buck’s solo shows. Together, they played the 1984 song “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville.”
The group’s bassist, Mike Mills, received a lot of attention lately, but not for his music. As one of the performing musicians on The Late Show With David Letterman, recently, he heard the talk-show host resigned on air and was the first person to tweet the announcement. “I figured there’s 300 people in the audience all tweeting the same thing so I figured it’s all right,” he said of stealing the talk-show host’s thunder.