Festival Pier, Philadelphia, PA- May 9, 2015
I finally saw The Replacements this past Saturday night along with Superchunk but regretfully missed a reportedly blistering although abbreviated set by J Roddy Walston and the Business. There was plenty unabashed anxiousness over weather and “reputation” of venue but the sum being what I’ve waited for twenty plus years to feast my senses on. It in no way disappointed and is hovering in my mental “best list” for the past 30+ hours. A sophomoric me heard Let It Be at an Atlanta, Georgia house party circa 95/96 right around the Olympic size summer blast heard ‘round the world.
At the time being torn between a love for the Grateful Dead, Gang Starr, De La Soul, Waylon Jennings, and Widespread Panic, there wasn’t anything there to release the misgivings. Enter the aforementioned record and it opened a whole new world were people didn’t give a shit what other people thought. What a concept to a 16 year old pimple faced, awkward, semi-tolerable athlete who was more worried about Abercrombie flannels and trying to grasp the attention of the hottest chick in class than digging deeper and taking a stand for anything. What would Westerberg do…
May 9th at Festival Pier on pristine Penns Landing set the scene, the Delaware River banked portion of Philadelphia equally historic as filled with modern day good times. The weather couldn’t be better, the backdrop of the Ben Franklin bridge both mesmerizing and unfathomable at the same time. They just don’t build things like they used to. Case in point being a night of twenty plus year rock vets who hacked the way for the creative tributaries of more white teen angst that procures modern day rocknroll perfection. Your favorite band was influenced by Paul Westerberg, Tommy and Bobby Stinson, Chris Mars and of course you can’t leave out Slim Dunlap’s impetuous contributions. And the first two are still doing it better than your favorite band.
The setlist pure mastery with a remarkable version of “Hold My Life” that I still haven’t managed to come down from; “Takin a Ride” opener, half of “Election Day” into “Little Mascara”, “Androgynous” and “Seen Your Video” played simultaneously. The only thing missing for me was “We’re Comin Out”, I always saw myself losing my mind to that while visualizing this show for the past 6 months. A trifecta double encore of “Left of the Dial”, “Alex Chilton”, and penultimate closer “Unsatisfied” made up for that in spades. I’ll stop there to prevent the proverbial “salt in the wound” cliché, it was magic though. Kudos to Josh Freese and Dave Minehan on drums and guitar, respectfully, for filling in perfectly the spaces once held by Mars, Bobby Stinson, Steve Foley, and Dunlap who’s recovering from the effects of a stroke -- Godspeed, Slim. Such a tight show and the sound impeccable, who would of thought that circa 1989. “Back By Unpopular Demand”, hopefully longer than sooner.
(+words: scott zuppardo+)
(As featured at No Depression 5/11/15)