THEY should just have sold standing space. Rock band R.E.M. had the 3,000-strong crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on their feet even before lead singer Michael Stipe's vocals strained over the sound system. The audience barely had time to gasp after that as Stipe and his partners - Mike Mills (bass), Peter Buck (guitar) and Bill Berry (drums) - pounded out hit after hit from their latest album Monster. Stipe wasted no time with words as the band concentrated on putting its heart and soul into 11/2 hours of solid rocking. Stipe was the star of the show for many of the women present, drawing screams with the occasional theatrical wiggle. He sent the audience scrambling at the foot of the stage as he flung pages of lyric sheets at them. 'He's just great, they're all really good,' enthused one twentysomething female fan as she dashed for the washroom during one of the band's slower numbers. All too soon, it seemed, the concert was over, and it was a happy but reluctant crowd that finally trooped out of the stadium. Local band Zen, who had been slated as the opening act, were probably the only people who left the concert disappointed. They had to sit it out because of 'technical problems' and because R.E.M. wanted to be sure they could play their full 90 minutes, said a member of the promotion team. Before the show, tickets were selling for five times their cover price. One foreign exchange dealer from a bank in Tokyo flew down on the off-chance and bought a $480 ticket at the door for $2,500. 'I thought I'd take a risk and come,' said the dealer, who did not want to be named. 'It's still cheaper in yen terms than if they were playing in Japan. Some people take drugs, some have cars. I've been an R.E.M. fan for over 10 years.' Tickets for the show sold out in one day.