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R.E.M.'s 30th Anniversary

The Athens band debuted at a church kegger in 1980



394 Oconee Street, Athens, Georgia.

Bill Berry, Pete Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. practiced at this address in the old St. Mary's Episcopal Church (simply referred to as "The Church" back then), where they played their first-ever gig on April 5, 1980 as part of a birthday party for a friend.

Most of the set included classic rock and punk covers. A local band called The Side Effects opened. These days, only the red-brick steeple of the church remains. The rest of St. Mary's was torn down in 1990 to make way for the Steeplechase Condominiums.

The Athens weekly paper Flagpole Magazine ran several features covering the anniversary including a Q&A with longtime band manager Bertis Downs.

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