Festival Pier, Philadelphia, PA | May 9, 2015

Replacements Festival Pier

Photo by The Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing

A beautiful setting for the final* show of the Back By Unpopular Demand Tour, on the river by the Ben Franklin Bridge, do click on the photo above to see the full-size image.
(*final regularly-scheduled show; the Pittsburgh and Columbus shows are still awaiting make-up dates).

Philadelphia set list

Photo by Brad Searles

Set List

Takin a Ride | Favorite Thing | I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know | Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out/Third Stone From the Sun | Kissin’ in Action | I’m in Trouble | Election Day (1/2 song) | Little Mascara | Hold My Life | Valentine | Nobody | Kiss Me on the Bus | Androgynous/Seen Your Video | Seen Your Video | I Will Dare | Wake Up | Borstal Breakout | Within Your Reach | Can’t Hardly Wait | Bastards of Young | My Boy Lollipop | Never Mind
Encore:
Left of the Dial | Alex Chilton
Encore 2:
Unsatisfied

“Borstal Breakout” finally gets played – and on a night when it didn’t appear on the printed set list.  This show may have had the most divergence from printed set list to actual set list, if for no other reason than they played half of “Election Day”.  I don’t think anyone had that one in their office set list pool.  Asked to pick between “Seen Yer Video” and “Androgynous”, the audience predictably opted for both; the band unpredictably tried to play them both at the same time. “Hold My Life” was an audience request, with Paul saying to someone right up front in the crowd “You’ve been asking for that for 4 days in a row…We don’t know it, but we’ll fucking try it.” And so they did.

Nice review from Philly.com: Welcome Back, ‘Mats: The Replacements at Festival Pier

The band’s capacity to create chaos and then reel it back in was best exemplified when Westerberg, who had earlier name checked the ‘80s Philadelphia after hours club the Black Banana, honor requests for both “Seen Your Video” and “Androgynous” by having two members play each song simultaneously. It sounded horrible. But whereas the old ‘Mats would have left it at that, the new followed with “Seen” in it entirety, its raspy voiced expression of refusal of mainstream banality as applicable in 2015 as in 1984: “Seen you video / Your phony rock and roll / We don’t want to know!”

Just as the Replacements were falling apart in the early ‘90s, another band that explored themes of frightening self-doubt called Nirvana were exploding with a ferocity that would tragically destroy them. In comparison, the Replacements were torch carriers who didn’t even go down in flames but simply faded away.

But all those songs that were never added to alt-rock radio playlists – like the superbly sketched domestic drama “Little Mascara” (“All you ever wanted, was someone to take care of ya / All you’re ever losing is a little mascara”) sounded remarkably fresh under the stars at Penn’s Landing. Raucous rock and roll about yearning for authentic human experience never goes out of style, and it helps enormously when an expert band is finally taking its music as seriously as it deserves to be. Welcome back, ‘Mats. Long may you rock.

Shirt Watch Day 15 (to be continued in Europe)
paul's shirt #15

Front message: I HAVE ALWAYS LOVE
Back message: NOW I MUST WHORE MY


Comments

Festival Pier, Philadelphia, PA | May 9, 2015 — 2 Comments

  1. I was there! My first Mats show since 1989. What a beautiful night and a fantastic performance from the group, even if it seemed a bit odd not to have Slim and Chris back there with Paul and Tommy. Made me feel 22 again.

    I haven’t sung along at a concert in years, but…. Can’t Hardly Wait, Hold My Life, I Will Dare, Favorite Thing, Left of the Dial, Alex Chilton! Bastards was triumphal. Paul and the crowd were in great voice. All I needed was Treatment Bound, Color Me Impressed and I.O.U. to make it completely perfect, but I’m not complaining.

    God bless the Mats!

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