“Valentine” saw the band gel into a loose and beaming unit, creating a state of euphoria in the audience. Even Stinson noticed, chiming in that they had “finally gotten that one right after a year of practice.” And while Westerberg still needed a few smokes to get through the set, he didn’t lie about the maturing aspect of the band, speaking about how they used to drink all day and now spent the afternoon at the gym. Even the new jam they performed was a goof about shopping at Whole Foods Market.
The completion of growing up, of coming of age, is part of The Replacements’ appeal at this point. Seeing a reckless band of 50-somethings would be flat-out depressing, but seeing a surviving band channeling their youthful energy for a night is inspiring. And on that, it created a context for the timelessness of “Alex Chilton”, “Left of the Dial”, and a dozen of the other songs The Replacements played. If the question was posed as to why The Replacements were so special to so many people, their performance was the definitive answer.
The second Palladium show was a stand-out, from all accounts. After playing a somewhat shorter than usual set the previous night, the band played 27 songs, with 3 (!) encores.
Photo by Mike Williamson
I’m in Trouble | Kissin’ in Action | Little Mascara | Color Me Impressed | Love You Till Friday | Maybellene | Treatment Bound | Take Me Down to the Hospital | Waitress in the Sky | Valentine | Achin’ to Be | Kiss Me on the Bus | Nobody | I Will Dare | Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out | Sixteen Blue | The Ledge | I’ll Be You | Whole Food Blues | Can’t Hardly Wait | Bastards of Young | My Boy Lollipop | Never Mind Encore:
Ghost On The Canvas | Skyway Encore 2:
Left of the Dial | Alex Chilton Encore 3:
I Want You Back | I.O.U.
A kickass rendition of “Valentine”.
And a nice singalong for “Skyway” here, plus “Ghost On The Canvas”.
And…a trombone for “Can’t Hardly Wait”!
Spoiler alert: He caught it. (photo by Martin Wong)
I came across a link on the Mats Facebook page to some beautiful black and white photos of both Hollywood shows, taken by Jim Wright: April 15 | April 16
Shirt Watch Show 5: The bottom letters are what’s being spelled out on the back, hard to find good shots of those letters. (Paul is spelling out a message, adding a letter each night of the tour. He said what’s being spelled on front is for the audience and the one on back is for the band.)
No danger of canned stage patter here. “Let’s try that sissy one,” said Westerberg, putting the most irreverent possible spin on “Androgynous,” their touching ode to glam-rock and/or actual ambisexuality. Later: “Tommy says I don’t have any ass in these pants,” Westerberg pointed out. “When you ARE an ass, you don’t need an ass.” The T. Rex medley they performed (with new guitarist Dave Minehan taking lead vocals on a smashing “20th Century Boy”) was explicable. Less so, their cover of Barbie Gaye’s 1956 single “My Boy Lollipop,” but it was hardly any less delightful for the obscurity. In that same anything-goes spirit, the Mats offered one new song, “Whole Food Blues,” a blues more or less performed to the tune of “The Thrill is Gone,” with Westerberg singing that he went to the store for some health food but “all I got was attitude.”
These welcome moments of goofiness aside, the Replacements evoked a phrase rarely heard in their actual heyday — “well-oiled machine” — by the time the set was back on track with a furiously perfect rendition of “Alex Chilton.” That invocation offered a moment to reflect on how, even though we think of the Replacements as lovable losers, they did succeed in a way that Big Star never did, actually getting on the radio and sparking a revolution that lasted at least as long as Cobain did. If, in the end, Westerberg’s self-prophesying came true and they didn’t sell many records, we can still see the shot glass as half-full.
So bless Westerberg for getting Stinson back in the fold and allowing us a few nights to pretend that rock & roll full of bluster and spit and wit and wisdom and crankily veiled melody really did inherit the earth. Wednesday’s ecstatic experience of a gig was almost worth the quarter-century wait to see these should-be Hall of Famers back in action… even if its 70-minute length was considerably shorter than the other shows the Replacements have done so far on this tour. It could be that Westerberg wanted to conserve a little energy for Thursday night’s sold-out follow-up concert at the Palladium. Or maybe he just needed to get his tax return in before midnight?
A somewhat blurry set list photo (thanks to Mike Forchini) has a cover of “Roadhouse Blues” as a possibility and it appears that “whole Food Blues” is now a full-fledged song.
Seen Your Video | Takin’ a Ride | Favorite Thing I’m in Trouble | Kissin’ in Action | Kiss Me on the Bus | Nobody | Androgynous | I Will Dare | I’ll Be You | 20th Century Boy / Bang a Gong (Get It On) / All Shook Down | Anywhere Is Better Than Here | Waitress in the Sky | Valentine | White and Lazy | Whole Food Blues | Can’t Hardly Wait | Bastards of Young | My Boy Lollipop | I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know | Within Your Reach Encore:
Left of the Dial | Alex Chilton | Nevermind
Shirt Watch Show 4: The bottom letters are what’s being spelled out on the back, hard to find good shots of those letters. (Paul is spelling out a message, adding a letter each night of the tour. He said what’s being spelled on front is for the audience and the one on back is for the band.)
Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston, a free five-night event (is) set to take over the Sinclair, a club in Harvard Square.
From April 27 through May 1 may perhaps be the only time fans will be able to see major acts such as alt-rock pioneers the Replacements, Boston-bred electro-pop sensations Passion Pit, thrash-metal titans Slayer, rap star Chance the Rapper, and punk-rock progenitors Descendents in a cozy venue that holds 525 people. All are acts that easily draw crowds triple that size.
April 27: The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., the Young Leaves
April 28: Passion Pit, Baths, Radclyffe Hall
April 29: Slayer, Doomriders, Rozamov
April 30: Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, Michael Christmas
May 1: Descendents, King Tuff, Bent Shapes
Now for the brutal details: The Sinclair holds only 525 people. Given the demand-to-ticket ratio, tickets will be distributed through a random online process. Staring Monday 4/20 at noon, you can register online and submit an entry to win two tickets for one of the five shows. Registration ends at noon on Wednesday, and Converse will notify winners by email.
Until the online registration process is live, no way to know what checks and balances will be in place to prevent scalpers from generating thousands (millions?) of automated entries.
This might be the best thing I’ve read since the reunion shows started. I wasn’t at the show last night but everything the reviewer captured in this beautifully-written piece describes the feeling of the Forest Hills show too. This is the only review I’ve read of any reunion show that truly captures the experience. Needless to say, it’s a must-read.
First off: There’s really no such a thing as a casual Replacements fan. People either don’t get what the big deal is or worship the Minneapolis rock forefathers, with that particular brand of emotional reverence reserved for music that has some kind of rarity, a precariousness to it. In the case of the ‘Mats, this is at least partially born of their breakup in 1991 — the swingin’ party that ended much too soon, with terrific, booze-soaked theatrics, leaving behind a question mark about what could have been had its attendees not seemed hell-bent on mutually assured destruction.
Westerberg shone on guitar solos; Stinson expertly grounded him on bass when necessary. They played covers, or parts of covers, including two T. Rex tunes — “20th Century Boy” and “Bang a Gong” — Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister,” Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop,” Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” and a jovial, dance-party rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.” They were loose, relaxed, but in the way an exceedingly good bar band should be. A few skipped lyrics here and there, a few antics (Westerberg singing parts from inside a red camping tent that remained onstage for the duration of the two-hour set?), but for the most part this was a band with very little to prove, and in consummate control.
That’s not something you see every day. There’s an inherent rust and jaggedness to the Replacements’ edge, along with a laid-flat vulnerability, that instills in the listener that immediate ring of authenticity — a sense that we’re in good hands here, people, we can trust these guys — that rarely comes across from the crop of younger rock ‘n’ roll bands who have sprung up in their place, even the ones who name-check the ‘Mats with abandon.
Having crack musicians like drummer like Josh Freese and guitarist Dave Minehan certainly helps keep everything propped up. It seems obvious that Minehan watches founding members Paul Westerberg (vocals) and Tommy Stinson (bass) like a hawk in case they decide to start romping through a KISS song or something.
While most of the attraction of this Replacements tour is clearly seeing the Minneapolis boys Westerberg and Stinson nod and wink to each as if they know something the rest of us don’t (and, really, they do), Freese and Minehan have blended in without harming the beautifully reckless vibe. (Original guitarist Bob Stinson was booted from the band in 1986 and died in 1995, and second guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a stroke in 2012. Drummer Chris Mars opted not to rejoin the group).
The band opened by blazing through “Takin’ a Ride,” “Favorite Thing,” and “Hangin’ Downtown.”
Do I have any children in the audience?” Westerberg quipped before kicking into “Androgynous,” which evolved into a massive singalong (the same thing happened again two songs later during the upbeat “I Will Dare”).
Westerberg planted an appropriate smooch on Stinson during “Kiss Me on the Bus,” before the band ripped through a cover of T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” (which, of course, lapsed into another cover song or three before it was done). After Westerberg admitted messing up during “Color Me Impressed,” (“I skipped the only verse that makes sense to me”) the musicians worked through a gloriously sloppy version of Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.”
Photo by Matt Opsahl
Shirt Watch: Thanks to reports from the message board and FB, we know that Paul said that it’s a “slow text” and that what’s being spelled on front is for the audience and the message on the back is for the band. And that we’ll know the full message in 13 days (which probably means at the end of the tour). Last night was an “A” in front, “W” on back. To date:
Front: IHA (I hate..?)
Back: NOW (Nowhere..?)
This is Paul’s set list, with “Skyfuck” scrawled at the bottom.
And the actual set list, with thanks to Setlist.FM. This is one helluva set list.
Takin’ a Ride | Favorite Thing | Hangin’ Downtown | Treatment Bound | I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know (Elvis “Little Sister” tease) | I.O.U. | Jazz Tent (Paul reads in a tent to “Take Five,” Brubeck) | Androgynous (from the tent) | Kissin’ in Action (little bit of “Iron Man”) | I Will Dare | Kiss Me on the Bus | 20th Century Boy / Bang a Gong (Get It On) / All Shook Down | Nobody | Take Me Down to the Hospital | I’m in Trouble | I Hate Music | If Only You Were Lonely | I’ll Be You | The Ledge | Color Me Impressed | Maybellene | Anywhere’s Better Than Here | Sixteen Blue | Can’t Hardly Wait | Bastards of Young | Within Your Reach | Seen Your Video Encore: Skyway Encore 2: Left of the Dial Alex Chilton These very cool posters were being given away free at the show; look for them to show up on eBay soon!