Friday, September 19, 2014

The Replacements at Midway Stadium- September 13, 2014

Back in late April, when it was announced the Replacements would play their first show in Minneapolis/St. Paul in over 23 years, I thought this was too good to be true. A while back I had written a blog post where I listed the reunions I would love to see. I think my #1 choice was to see the Replacements (...half the original band) get back together to play some shows. It's been a year since they first stepped back on the stage together in Toronto during Riotfest and sporatically since at multi-band music festivals. Not only would the show in the Twin Cities be a return to their hometown, but it would be their first true headlining non-festival full set concert.

The first time I heard the Replacements was back around 1986 (circa. Tim) when a friend gave me a mix tape of music he thought I might enjoy. I can't remember exactly was on the tape, but I think there were groups like, the Jazz Butcher and Beasts Of Bourbon, but the songs that stuck with me the most were the Replacements tracks. I know for sure, Kiss Me On The Bus, Waitress In The Sky and Lay It Down Clown were on the tape. I tracked down the album, Tim later that week and I bought Pleased To Meet Me at Record Baron as soon as it was released a year later. On my next trip to Minneapolis, I snagged copies of their first four albums (Sorry Ma, Stink, Hootenany and Let It Be) from the long gone, Northern Lights Records on Hennepin. Their final two albums, though slightly disappointing, still was better than anything else on the radio at the time. My interest in the Replacements was renewed a few years later when I read a series of articles in a magazine/fanzine I subscribed to, Tapers Quarterly about collecting the Replacements (video, live recordings and outtakes/demos). It was an excellent article that intrigued me because the band's live shows were unpredictable with setlists that were never the same, with unlikely covers and wonderful spontanious moments that would either fly high or flop badly. Since that article I have gone on to collect a large number of Replacements shows through tape trades and fellow fans that have shared their recordings. I definitely have more Mats shows than any other band in my collection of concert recordings and any one of them I could throw in the tape deck (or CD player) and experience a unique Replacements show that I would never tire of.

Yes, these are the clearest and least blurry of the dozens of photos I took.

When tickets went on presale on May 1, I was determined to one of the lucky 15,000 or so fans to get tickets. And I did! The presale and the following public ticket sales sold out almost intantly with many Twin Cities natives stunned tickets disappeared so quickly. A road trip to Minneapolis is always exciting especially with an event such as this as the highlight. My brother and his friends were also lucky enough to come through with tickets, but I travelled with my wife and daughter. Personally, this would probably have to be the most anticipated concert in my life. I've waited a long time for this moment and I feel bad I missed out the first time around in the 80's. Just as a whim on the week of the concert, I entered a "Pleased to meet and greet" contest on The Current (MPR) website after filling in my picks for their Top 30 Replacements songs poll. Imagine my surprise (or should I say shock!) when I received an email on Thursday saying I won. The prize included two tickets to the show and a special meet and greet with the band...HOLY CRAP!

I was able to sell my previously bought tickets (at list price) when I came to Minneapolis (thanks Helen! hope you enjoyed the concert!) and then it was off to Midway Stadium. We arrived just before doors opened and after collecting our VIP after-show passes and tickets we grabbed a spot on a massive tarp in front of the stage and between the sound tent. We shifted closer to middle and closer up during the first two bands (Lucero and The Hold Steady) and wound up in good position in the middle of the mass for the Replacements. It was increasingly frustrating to have more and more people shove their way towards the front and squeeze their bodies smack dab in front of my face. There was lots of shoving and pushing, jocking for position and I was stuck directly behind three of the tallest guys in the crowd, of course! This is not the ideal recording situation, first, it's an outdoor venue and sound can be affected by wind and secondly, I was surrounded on four sides by taller people so my mics were blocked and pushed into the back of the person in front of me. This resulted in muffled sound and it didn't help that the guy directly behind me sang along with almost every song directly in my ear (and mics). I swear during Skyway, I couldn't hear Westerberg at all, only the American Idol wannabe behind me. To top it off, my SD card in my recorder malfunctioned and I had to switch cards on the fly. I ended up missing 3 songs, ouch! Fortunately, I figured this show more than any other show on the tour would be recorded by other tapers and luck would have it there are at least three other recordings posted online. The band's extended setlist (compared to the festival shows) provided all the highlights I was hoping to hear. I've seen Paul Westerberg solo on two occasions and he's played a handful of Mats songs, but it was amazing to hear the Replacements live renditions of Bastards, Left Of the Dial, I Will Dare, Alex Chilton,, too many great moments...and to close the show during the second encore, Unsatisfied. Westerberg and Stinson sounded and looked good and the support from Josh Freese on drums and Dave Minehan on guitar was stellar. The concert was crazy good, the sound was decent and I technically was close enough to see the band clearly (peeking between heads, bodies and foam fingers), so I feel very fortunate to have been there for this once in a lifetime moment.

Everything after the concert seemed surreal. My wife and I along with the other contest winners (I think 8 plus guests) were led past security behind the stadium fence and through the backstage area past a tent for family/friends and crew members to a building where we would meet the band. We lined up on the steps outside the building and in pairs met, shook hands (Tommy hugged/wrestled me), briefly chatted and posed for photos with Tommy and Paul. And for a gift we received an autographed poster from the show! I know bands probably have to go through this kind of fan interaction every show through promoter committments and whatever, but the guys were soft-spoken and seemed genuinely sincere to meet us. I can now say I've met three of my true music heroes (Scott McCaughey, the other) and it was a thrill and an experience I will never forget.

Pleased to meet and greet with Tommy and Paul!

Due to the sub-par quality of my recording, I've posted a recording I downloaded from Dime. Perks has given permission to post that recording here to share. The sound is really good and considering the conditions of an outdoor concert (listed above), this is an excellent document of the show. It really has that "just like being there" feel to the recording. Thanks Perks!

The Replacements
September 13, 2014
Midway Stadium
St. Paul, MN

Source: Schopes MK41's > active cables > Nbox > Edirol R-05 @ 24/48.
Transfer: Emtec 16GB SDHC Card > Dell PC > 24bit WAV > Sony Sound Forge 9.0e > CDWave Editor > Trader's Little Helper > FLAC16.

Recorded and transferred by perks.

1. Crowd/Tuning
2. Favorite Thing
3. Takin' A Ride
4. I'm In Trouble
5. Don't Ask Why
6. I'll Be You
7. Valentine
8. Waitress In The Sky
9. Tommy Got His Tonsils Out > 3rd Stone From The Sun
10. Take Me Down To The Hospital
11. I Want You Back
12. Going To New York (with Tony "Little Sun" Glover)
13. Color Me Impressed
14. Nowhere Is My Home
15. If Only You Were Lonely
16. Achin' To Be
17. Kiss Me On The Bus
18. Androgynous
19. I Will Dare
20. Love You Till Friday > Maybelene
21. Merry Go Round
22. I Won't
23. Borstal Breakout
24. Swingin' Party
25. Love You In The Fall
26. Can't Hardly Wait
27. I Don't Know > Buck Hill
28. Bastards Of The Young
29. Skyway
30. Left of The Dial
31. Alex Chilton
32. Unsatisfied
33. Crowd

The Replacements- 2014-09-13, Midway Stadium, St. Paul, MN FLAC. rar

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