Me too, on the seeing them twice part - but it was at a time when hardly anyone outside of GA had heard of them. As in they were still on the Hib-Tone Records label. Saw them once for free in the daytime during the Piedmont Park Arts Festival in ATL, and the other time at the old 688 Club, which was a punk/new wave bar across I-75/85 from GA Tech, a block or so north of The Varsity.
I saw them in College Station Texas in 1987. Stipe told the audience, “If you are drinking, please don’t drive. If you are in the military ... get out.” Being in NROTC, I was unimpressed, ignored his advice, and instead stopped listening to REM.