R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Played a Surprise Set in NYC, Covered Perfume Genius and Frank Sinatra

R.E.M. broke up in 2011. It was a sad time, the end of a profound musical reign, but somewhat deserved since the band worked so hard for decades. Earlier this week, though, frontman Michael Stipe returned to the stage and performed in concert much to the surprise of those in the audience.

On Monday night, Stipe was the unannounced opening act for Patti Smith at New York’s Webster Hall. While his set was only six songs long, he squeezed in R.E.M.’s “Saturn Return” and “New Test Leper,” a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Lucinda Williams,” Patti Smith’s “Wing,” Perfume Genius’ “Hood,” and the eternal classic “New York, New York.” Talk about a surprise. Luckily the whole set was recorded and can be heard below:

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