Monday, August 26, 2013

The Return of The Replacements!!!

Whether they're consciously aware of it or not, every music lover has that one seminal band that opened their ears and hearts to the power of what music means to them. Those bands who completely change your perception. Like Dorothy walking from the black and white Kansas into the color of Oz. I have a few who did that for me (Bowie, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Dylan) but the band I often forget about was The Replacements.

One of the "reunions no one ever thought would happen" occurred last night as The Replacements  triumphantly played their first gig since their unexpected "breakup show" in Chicago on July 4, 1991. And for 90 minutes with fists in the air on that hot summer day in 1991, no one was a bigger "Mats" fan than I. As an angsty 16 year old music freak, no one represented the power and glory of rock and roll like The Replacements. They merged the alienated, rebellious feelings of youth with three chord "crank it up" beauties that sounded as if they were written just for you. Like Pete Townshend, Lou Reed, and Bruce Springsteen before him, Paul Westerberg was able to write songs that broke through all the confused, messy, emotional shit going on in your head and made you feel you were not alone. And it was all done with the punk/pop beauty of songwriting that sounded instantly familiar even though no one else was doing it like them.

Even if The Replacements are now only Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson (Slim Dunlap had a stroke last year), their return is cause for a rock and roll celebration. While admittedly some of the songs from last night lack the fury of their 80's heyday, this is obviously understandable. And with songs that great, it really makes no fucking difference. Until I saw the videos from last night's show, I had forgotten how much their music meant to me as a youth. But with the magical power of music, was it really that long ago?

The Replacements, Riot Fest, Toronto, ON, Canada
1. “Takin’ a Ride”
2. “I’m in Trouble”
3. “Favorite Thing”
4. “Hanging Downtown”
5. “Color Me Impressed”
6. “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out”
7. “Kiss Me On the Bus”
8. “Androgynous”
9. “Achin’ to Be”
10. “I Will Dare”
11. “Love You ‘Til Friday”
12. “Maybellene” (Chuck Berry cover)
13. “Merry Go Round”
14. “Wake Up”
15. “Borstal Breakout” (Sham 69 cover)
16. “Little Mascara”
17. “Left of the Dial”
18. “Alex Chilton”
19. “Swingin’ Party”
20. “Can’t Hardly Wait”
21. “Bastards of Young”
22. “Everything is Coming Up Roses” (From ‘Songs For Slim’ EP)

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