REM’s first gig was in a deconsecrated church in Athens, Georgia, on April 5, 1980. That gig was cobbled together as a goof, a favour to a friend who was having a birthday party that night. But things went so well that they stuck together.
This is the earliest known footage of REM. Shot at The Pier in Raleigh NC on October 10, 1982, it features an 11-song set that included several songs that would become REM staples.
UPDATE: People now tell me that this while cool, this is not the earliest footage available. Jonathan write: ?Per the post on your website, that is not the earliest known footage of R.E.M. The earliest known video footage was recorded on 6th May 1980 at Tyrone’s in Athens (albeit without sound, just video). 6th June 1980 at Wuxtry Records in Decatur is the earliest R.E.M. video footage in existence, with sound. This footage also predates the footage you posted from the Pier. This is from Dan Wall’s (of Wuxtry Records) archives.”
Good to know.