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Hyland's verdict: First David Brent then REM Stipe.

Byline: By IAN HYLAND, TV Critic

REM opened their set with Imitation Of Life but for the first few bars it looked like their lead singer was doing an impression of their warm-up guy Ricky Gervais.

Michael Stipe: crazy make-up, crazy dancing.

But I think it's safe to say Mr Gervais quickly learned that these sort of events are not a time for comedy.

That's why after trying to tell a few gags he ended up bowing to crowd pressure and doing the one thing he swore he'd never do again - the David Brent dance.

In years to come it will probably be almost as memorable as the thick blue line of make-up Stipe was wearing across his face which made him look a bit like a bald Hong Kong Phooey.

Thankfully as far as the music went he was, as ever, a No.1 superguy, effortlessly rattling his way through their biggest numbers.

Everybody Hurts was most notable because as well as being the day's first spine-tingler it brought us our first close-up of a middle-aged couple in the crowd hugging each other and singing along.

And every good open-air gig needs one of those. The band finished their set with Man On The Moon which was obviously another high point for the crowd.

Unfortunately for TV viewers it will probably be remembered best for the BBC bizarrely switching to Fearne Cotton interviewing Razorlight backstage halfway through the song.

Which makes the Beeb a bunch of Cotton-picking critters.

Meanwhile, posh Sussex boys Keane still don't look old enough to be playing at Live8 but they didn't seem at all fazed by the masses in Hyde Park. In fact, from the minute he bounded on to the stage it sounded like Tom Chaplin and his two pals could have taken on the whole of London.REM SET LIST

Imitation of Life

Everybody Hurts

The One I Love

Man on the Moon

CAPTION(S):

You couldn't make it up ...REM singer Michael Stipe; Back on song ...Ms Dynamite explodes on stage; Singing out... Keane's Tom Chaplin; No joking ...Gervais
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2005
Words:348
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