Michael Stipe makes live return

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Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe performed his first gig since R.E.M. split, supporting his friend Patti Smith in New York on Monday (29.12.14).

Michael Stipe has made a surprise return to live performing.

The former R.E.M. frontman was an unannounced support act for his friend Patti Smith's gig at New York's Webster Hall on Monday (29.12.14) and treated fans to a short six-song set.

In his first concert since his group split three years ago, the 54-year-old singer was backed by two musicians and played keyboards as he sang four covers - ate singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt's 'Lucinda Williams'; Patti Smith's 1996 song 'Wing'; Frank Sinatra's classic 'New York, New York' and Perfume Genius' 2012 single 'Hood' - and two rarely-heard R.E.M. tracks, 'New Test Leper' from 1996 album 'New Adventures in Hi-Fi' and 'Saturn Return', which appears on 2001 LP 'Reveal'.

Michael's shock performance came just a few weeks after he admitted he was planning to return to music - though he said it wouldn't be in the near future.

He said: "That's maybe an exclusive, but I think I will sing again. Not soon, maybe...I don't know.

"I love my voice and I think it's still... I think it actually got better as I got older.

"I sing in the shower. And I'm not bad. You would be surprised at my play list."

The 'Losing My Religion' singer also admitted he most misses performing when he watches other people's gigs.

He said: "I just needed to step away for a while. [But] when I go to see bands perform live, that's when it's hard for me. I look up on the stage and I think, 'I wish I was there.' "

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