R.E.M.’s Mike Mills Joins Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit In Athens

Watch Mills provide backing vocals on the band's version of R.E.M. classic "Driver 8."

By Scott Bernstein Jan 25, 2022 8:01 am PST

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit brought their tour to Athens, the city where R.E.M. was formed, on Monday. The band was accompanied by R.E.M. co-founding member Mike Mills for the R.E.M. classic “Driver 8” to start their encore at the Georgia Theatre.

“Driver 8” wasn’t the only R.E.M. song to make the setlist in Athens. Isbell also led his mates through their debut cover of “Nightswimming,” a song R.E.M. originally released on 1992’s Automatic For The People. Both “Driver 8” and “Nightswimming” are featured on Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit’s Georgia Blue, a 2021 charity covers album benefiting nonprofit organizations Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP. Isbell shouted out bassist Jimbo Hart, who was celebrating his birthday, for his beautiful work on “Nightswimming.”

“Nightswimming,” which featured sparse drumming from Chad Gamble, came in the middle of the group’s 18-song main set last night. The band also played five tunes off 2020’s Reunions LP and three from 2017’s The Nashville Sound as well as a variety of selections included on Isbell’s solo albums. Additionally, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit performed “Outfit” and “Never Gonna Change” from Jason’s time in Drive-By Truckers and covered Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s “Honeysuckle Blue” within the main set.

“We’ve got a friend of ours that has agreed to come up and sing on a song with us,” Isbell told the crowd at the start of the encore. “Ladies and gentlemen, Athens, Georgia’s own Mike Mills is here tonight.” Mills added backing vocals to “Driver 8” and then vacated the stage for Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit to close out the evening by covering The Black Crowes’ “Sometimes Salvation.”

Watch fan-shot video footage featuring “Driver 8” and “Nightswimming” from last night’s show below:


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MakeMusicHappen (See 2 videos)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit (See 54 videos) and Mike Mills (See 4 videos)

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MakeMusicHappen (See 2 videos)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit (See 54 videos)

Setlist

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at Georgia Theatre

  • What've I Done to Help
  • Hope the High Road
  • It Gets Easier
  • Something More Than Free  
  • 24 Frames  
  • Overseas
  • Super 8  
  • Nightswimming  
  • Last of My Kind
  • The Life You Chose  
  • Only Children
  • Goddamn Lonely Love  
  • Be Afraid
  • If We Were Vampires
  • Honeysuckle Blue  
  • Outfit  
  • Cover Me Up  
  • Never Gonna Change  
Encore
  • Driver 8  
  • Sometimes Salvation  
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