PHOTOS: Remembering REM closing down Friday’s

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10649947_10204692861863548_4366739155028130197_nThis week we revisited the story of Friday’s, a legendary venue on Tate Street in Greensboro, in Nicole Crews’ column.

Her article brought forward other people’s remembrances, including Loring Mortensen who was there for the venue’s final show.

I was going to Guilford College at the time and found out it was the last night at Friday’s and the owners arranged for REM to come play,” he said. “I think I was 18. I shot these images with my Minolta without flash and pushed the film in the dark room the next morning.”

It’s been 30 years, and these are the only photos that survived, though Mortensen said he still has some of the negatives.

1013806_10204692861743545_8057846002589550741_nHe was studying photography at the Quaker college, and wasn’t sure he could bring his flash into the venue so he left it behind. He still came away with four great shots that survived over the years, showing the different band members mid song.

10671496_10204692861703544_8080868766605024754_nHe even snapped a shot of lead guitarist Peter Buck, left, with a sticker for local heroes Lets Active on his six-string.

“They played flawless, better than I expected,”Mortensen said.  “I think Genesis was playing at the coliseum that same night. Not Phil Collins, but actually Genesis if I’m not mistaken. Funny the things you (think) you remember.”

He also took a dreamlike portrait of singer Michael Stipe, below, who back then had hair like Greensboro’s Sam Martin of Three-Brained Robot and what appears to be an arresting stage presence.

“Stipe had tied flowers together (like clover) and had it in his hair (yes, he had hair) and around his neck,” he said. “It was hippy-dippy but very cool and you see how close I got. He didn’t seem to mind.” 1660210_10204692861903549_7722822351468673893_n

Mortensen remembers camping out that afternoon by the venue to get in and the power of the show, but some aspects of the night have faded.

“The end of the night was a blur,” he said, “which is how most nights on Tate ended I guess.”

See photos from other shows at Friday’s taken by Rusty Moore here.