Mike Mills, Atlanta Symphony Hall revisit R.E.M. hits with ‘R.E.M. Explored’

Mike Mills performs at the Fox Theatre Institute held a benefit concert on Friday, September 13, 2019. Special guests included an R.E.M. reunion (sans Michael Stipe), Tom Gray, Rick Richards, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Michelle Malone, and Dodd & the Councilmen, featuring Bill Berry of R.E.M. 
Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

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Mike Mills performs at the Fox Theatre Institute held a benefit concert on Friday, September 13, 2019. Special guests included an R.E.M. reunion (sans Michael Stipe), Tom Gray, Rick Richards, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Michelle Malone, and Dodd & the Councilmen, featuring Bill Berry of R.E.M. Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

Since R.E.M. broke up for good in 2011, fans thirsting for live versions of the band’s songs have had to make do with a handful of tribute bands such as Dead Letter Office and the REMakes.

But founding member and bassist Mike Mills has decided to tackle his group’s catalog in a more orchestral way with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a show called “R.E.M. Explored.”

Mills will also perform his “Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Orchestra” alongside Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie. Conductor Sarah Hicks will lead the orchestra.

There will be performances on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Tickets go on sale June 10 at Ticketmaster. Prices were not initially released.

The Athens band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, built up a fanbase with college hits in the early 1980s like “Driver 8,” “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” and “Radio Free Europe.” Later in the 1980s, the band broke through with mainstream success, generating myriad hits including “The One I Love,” “Man on the Moon,” “Stand,” “Everybody Hurts,” “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” and “Losing My Religion.”

If you want to hear the songs live by a tribute band, there are two upcoming opportunities in metro Atlanta. The REMakes will be at City Winery Atlanta June 25 in Atlanta. Dead Letter Office will be at Southern Brewing Company in Athens on July 1 and Madlife Studios in Woodstock on July 2.