Edit - I must say that I really like their music, but I have been to two of their shows, and they were snoozers. I was very bored at the shows, even though they did a good job at sounding as good as "mastered studio" performance/sound quality. Most of the people that really liked the shows only liked them because they saved their best illegal drug for the concerts. Personally, I was quite sober and usually I can have a great time despite that, but for some reason the R.E.M. show didn't do it for me.
R.E.M. makes good music, but mainly the reason I like them has very little to do with the music and far more to do with where I was/what I was doing/who I was with when the music played. I was in some pretty good company during pretty good times when they were big, and it was an easy cheat to pass stiff competition for female attention just by playing their stuff on guitar or piano; since their songs don't require a ton of skill to learn. For example, singing and playing "Man on the Moon" was pretty easy, and yet people used to treat me like I had just discovered how to cure cancer when I played it.
Don't forget to live before you die.