Yup - this pretty much sums it up for me, too. Even his chronology of discovering REM - and then the Minutemen, Husker Du, and the Replacements - fits perfectly. But… I loved Fables (still do), and my first live REM was thankfully in the tiny Capital Theater in Passaic, NJ. And I bought a t-shirt - but I didn’t wear it at the show!
REM w/ Roger McGuin at the Capital Theater, June 1984.