Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

June 15, 2008

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” has a utility in R.E.M.’s live repertoire, and it’s been the same since very, very early on in their career: You are getting rained on, and they are playing the song because they kinda feel bad for you. It’s a bit funny, it’s a bit jerky. Earlier this evening I happened to be at an R.E.M. show that was delayed by a severe, torrential rain storm. Inevitably, they started the show with the song, and then it kept raining and it didn’t stop until the final notes of the last song of the night. In case you were wondering: Yes, I most definitely saw the rain.

31 Responses to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”

  1. leital Says:

    wasn’t it a beautiful show? my expectations were blown out of the..er.. water. the rain made them much more spontaneous and loose and I think we got a great performance because of it. (the last time I saw them – 2004 at MSG the night after Bush got reelected – was awful)

  2. Mr Cup Says:

    File under….rain?

    I have this on a scratchy old bootleg and was quite surprised by them covering it at the time. Time would reveal they had aspirations to write many rain songs themselves. The version I have certainly wouldn’t replace the original, but cover songs seem to be a way of saying ‘thank you’ to your influences. I reckon.

  3. Brian Says:

    I was dying laughing when this happened. I told my friend while we were waiting in the corridor “I wonder if they’ll play the CCR song tonight.” Sure enough, they did. Priceless, especially letting Mike Mills sing a bit of it too.

  4. Candice Says:

    I also saw them last night and at MSG in 2004… another show where they decided to play ITEOTWAWKI even though they weren’t playing it before. Great show overall and I was psyched to hear CCR b/c I’ve never heard them do it live before.

    I loved when Stipe announced, “This is the encore” and said something about there being no point to leaving and coming back on and Mills chimed in, “Yeah, we might fall.” heh

  5. I just saw the setlist that the band were going to play if it had not been fucked by rain, and…it makes me want to cry. Or die. I don’t know.

  6. Jared Says:

    What a crazy show! It had its ups and downs… I really liked the spontaneity the guys showed on stage, and I am quite certain that I’ve never seen Michael talk that much.

    But I thought the crowd was very disappointing. I know the rain was awful (and insane, and even literally scary), but I couldn’t help but feel the crowd seemed docile… and old.

    PS: His comments on “I’ll Take the Rain” (“It’s plodding, and 7 minutes long. You really don’t want to hear it.”) were hilarious.

  7. Jared Says:

    PS: Matthew, where can I find that setlist? If it includes “Find the River” or “Wolves, Lower”, I probably don’t wanna know.

  8. This is the original setlist:

    These Days
    Living Well
    *Heron House
    Man sized wreath
    South Central Rain
    * Strange Currencies
    * Animal
    Welcome to the Occupation
    horse to Water
    one i Love
    * Until the day is Done
    Let me In
    Bad Day
    * Life and how to Live It
    Orange Crush
    I’m gonna DJ
    Losing my religion
    * Harborcoat
    * imitation of Life
    * nightswimming
    fall on me
    man on the Moon

    This is what they played:

    Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
    So. Central Rain
    These Days
    Living Well
    Man Sized Wreath
    Hollow Man
    Horse To Water
    One I Love
    Let Me In
    Bad Day
    Orange Crush
    I’m Gonna DJ
    End O World
    Fall On Me
    Man on the Moon

    Words cannot express how bummed I feel about being cheated out of Heron House. Oh god, and Harborcoat and Life and How To Live It and Strange Currencies. Ugh.

  9. ScottMalobisky Says:

    but why should the rain afffect the setlist that much ?I mean it’s not like they switched to a bunch of acoustic songs; oh , I guess it just made it shorter.

    Jared, being old is not a disease or an affliction or a shortcoming or a defect in character ๐Ÿ™‚ Someday you’ll understand …..if you’re lucky…….

  10. They had to cut down the time, Scott.

  11. jim jos Says:

    still sounds like a great show, not as what it should be but I am glad you all were able to go.

    the closest to florida is Atlanta, and I do not think I can make it up there this year. Well we had the festival as unofficial day one, but I missed that as well. Sucks to be me…

  12. jim jos Says:

    and you big shot eastern folks can catch them again at MSG in a couple days!!!

  13. ScottMalobisky Says:


    age IS a shortcoming AND an affliction
    but not a disease or a defect in character

    wasn’t there a somewhat major artist (guitar player?) who was seriously shocked (killed?) a few years back during rain at an outdoor show ?……I seem to have this vague memory of this but I can’t place it.

  14. Jared Says:

    You might be thinking of the scene in “Almost Famous”, which my friend and I referred to last night.

    In all supernatural superseriousness, I really though there was a chance (albeit small) that lighting would strike the stage and it would be the end of R.E.M as we know it… I was seriously kinda concerned.

    I’m depressed about the setlist. Harborcoat, Heron House, and Nightswimming… sigh. Even Strange Currencies has a personal connection for me.

    As for age comment, I’m in my 30s… I don’t think age is an affliction. I just felt the vibe around me was: “I’m wet and I wanna go home ASAP” and not “Wow this wild and crazy, let’s get into it!” I think any age is capable of feeling the latter.

    Look, REM’s been around for 25+ years. Of course their fan base will run the age gamut. I was just hoping for a little youthfulness from some of the older folks. If you can’t ‘kick it out on the dance floor like you just don’t care’ at an REM concert, then when can you?

  15. Paul Alferink Says:

    But Let Me In was really good, was it not?

    I’ve heard them cover this song on some bootleg or other. I think I had a bootleg of a collection of live covers and this was on it. Hilarious that they still dust it off.

  16. davegassner Says:

    Bah, it rained when I saw them in Gorge, Washington a couple weeks ago at the Sasquatch Festival too! Buck slipped and fell on his ass walking out, inspiring a recovery wave and great cheers. Throughout the opener, Stipe stripped his shoes and socks, throwing them into the crowd, and did the show barefoot as to prevent slipping on the wet stage. “I’m not wearing any socks or shoes, does that make me a hippie?” he asked. “…k, just making sure my street cred is still in tact.”

    Then some dude yelled “thehn dhon’t wear a shuit and tie, bud!@!’, killing the moment a tad.

  17. Justin Says:

    But you got “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, MP! I know that’s little recompense for missing “Harborcoat” or “Life and How to Live It”. I was bummed the show I caught didn’t feature “Disturbance at the Heron House” or “Ignoreland”. And I’ve seen “Departure” and “Mr. Richards” on subsequent sets, too. Damn it all!

    There’s a nice performance of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” on the band’s Rockpalast appearance from 1985. Stipe obviously doesn’t know the words, but the way he sings the chorus is beautiful. And those vintage R.E.M. harmonies…

  18. dumbek Says:

    Believe me – There were a few of us old geezers up front dancing our asses off. It may not have been pretty – but we were having a blast. I think Jones Beach is probably a little calmer than most venues anyway, due to the lack of alcohol. Old + sober + wet = calmer crowd.

  19. Kirsten Says:

    I don’t know – sounds like fun to me. That’s the sort of show I’d like to see them do (if they ever get off their asses and get down here). Didn’t realize that they still drag this one out every now and then – I’ll have to get some more updated bootlegs!

    Question – Why do outdoor shows?

  20. ScottMalobisky Says:

    the same reason UFO’s have lights
    because it’s dark in outer space ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Mr Cup Says:

    She’s Victorian. Outdoor is a health hazard there.
    Perth however has a fantastically mild climate not dissimilar to California I believe. Great for touring bands ANY TIME OF YEAR!


  22. Paul Alferink Says:

    You guys should remind them about the Koalas. And that ferral kid from Mad Max. You want them to care, don’t you?

  23. Kirsten Says:

    Hey, it hasn’t rained here for months!

  24. Mr Cup Says:

    A sure fire method to get some rain is to get a bicycle Kirsten. Every
    time you want to head out for a ride you can be guaranteed of a little shower.

  25. Kirsten Says:

    I thought about riding a bike home from work (to get home quicker), but there are just too many hills here!

  26. ScottMalobisky Says:

    hitch a ride in a UFO

  27. Mr Cup Says:

    As you personal trainer, I suggest hill climbs are great for strengthening the heart and toning the legs.

    Even if you push the bike up the hill, it’s still faster than public transport.

  28. Kirsten Says:

    There isn’t much public transport here – we’re to far from civilisation! And I do walk up the hills, I just struggle on a bike. And pushing it up hill is just imbarrassing. Maybe I could get a Moped….

  29. Kirsten Says:

    Almost as embarrassing as my typing skills.

  30. Jared W Says:

    I have to say that crowd really redeemed themselves at Madison Square Garden last night. TERRIFIC show. The most energy I have ever seen at an REM show, actually…

  31. Lowden Says:

    Still was the most amazing show ever. Of all songs to chop off, Nightswimming?! It’s pouring rain at midnight and you don’t play nightswimming? Oh well. But in response to Jared’s comment, granted I’m 18 and so were all my friends, but after almost dying during modest mouse (in the upper deck 20 feet from the lightening, got sparks rained on us), we were all in the vibe of this is fucking awesome! We’re wet, we almost died, lets stand in the rain some more! We moved down so much cause all the lame old geezers left.

    Check out my blog entry on the show: lowdenconcert.blogspot.com

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