Live At The Olympia Image
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second live recording for the band features songs from its five-night residency at Dublin, Ireland's Olympia Theatre in 2007.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Though it isn’t a concept album, Live At The Olympia does tell a story about the remarkable staying power of one of the best rock bands of the past 30 years.
  2. 80
    In 39 tracks over two CDs, the punk-fuelled folk-rock group that had ruled the ’80s along with U2 magically reappears.
  3. It’s a bold, enchanting and captivating record that is of genuine interest to hear, as opposed to a long drawn out chore, which an album like this it could have so easily been.
  4. The notion of a 2xCD set of rehearsal recordings smacks of unnecessary indulgence, but whether you take this as an alternative canon of R.E.M. music or a document of a band working hard to find its future by revisiting its past, the album is successful in providing a new perspective on a classic group desperately in need of a new narrative thread.
  5. While the recording and performance are at times a little ragged in voice and tone, the band’s earlier semi-punk instincts ring through and its taste remains impeccable.
  6. Given the quality of the performances and the depth of the song selection, Olympia is not simply a for-fans-only vanity project or an excuse to revisit an album that's just over a year old, but it stands as an essential addition to R.E.M.'s catalogue.
  7. 40
    Clearly the thrill of hearing new songs in their embryonic state could never be replicated, but as rendered in such pristine isolation even the cavalier back catalogue selections (rarely played early classic 1,000,000;one-that-got-away Romance) fell flat. [Dec 2009, p. 95]

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 29, 2012
    9
    Although technically a live album, as the sleeve of the album states "This is not a show". Recorded over several nights in Ireland's best venue to see a band, The Olympia in Dublin, this was a mini residency where REM worked on and tested out new songs that were to appear on their forthcoming album Accelerate. Along with work in progress versions of Accelerate tracks, this double album has tracks from throughout the bands career. There are very few of their massive hits on this with Drive and Electrolite the most widely known. The majority of the material comes from their pre Out of Time era. The quality of the songs is amazing throughout, the standard of the recording is excellent and the band are in top form here. A couple of the songs have interesting explanations about their origins as well. The older stuff still sounds amazingly fresh and vibrant. Not so sure it's a record you'd give to someone as an introduction to REM but for the many fans of the band already out there it's a must, have especially now that the band are no more. Expand

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