Bradley’s Almanac

[Words & MP3s] The Replacements live at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 11:17 am | 6 Comments

Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson summed up Monday night pretty succinctly mid-set, after the band finished a run through their classic (among many classics) “I Will Dare” at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts…

“This is weird.”

Yeah, the whole thing was pretty weird. From the hard-to-swallow early rumor they’d be playing the relatively small 525-capacity rock club in Harvard Square with Dinosaur Jr. and locals The Young Leaves, to the official announcement that it would kick off a 5-night Converse Rubber Tracks Live series of free shows, to the 2-day open lottery method of ticket giveaways. Yay!sayers, naysayers, and everyone in between chimed in online, especially after the winners (will call only, for the lucky few and a friend) were chosen and many, many fans were shut out. My rejection email arrived later than most, so last Thursday was a particularly long day at work clicking refresh ad nauseam.

For most any other band, I would have moved to the acceptance-stage of grief pretty quickly, but this was the Replacements’ first proper headlining tour since reuniting in 2013. When their 2015 road schedule was announced and Boston was left out, many were surprised – surely they didn’t think a shortened outdoor festival set (at last September’s Boston Calling) was enough to satisfy, especially in the hometown of new guitarist and longtime local-boy Dave Minehan. There had to be a proper area headlining show in the cards. Turned out there was, but you probably couldn’t go. Pessimists (like, uh, me) worried this stop would cross Boston off their to-do-list, and that would be that. After all, given the band’s turbulent past and Paul Westerberg’s idiosyncratic ways, who can say the live reunion will last?

Speculation on the size of the VIP list, the number of tickets actually doled out to fans, and the amount of sneaker-fueled corporate cashola being thrown at the Replacements & Dinosaur Jr. to feed this marketing machine followed. There was bitchin’, there was beggin’, there was resignation and self-righteousness. The Craigslist “TICKETS WANTED!” posts piled up, along with Facebook event page pleading, with offers of favors, cash, and eternal gratitude. Even if I was the kind of guy who felt comfortable using so-called connections to wheedle my way in, that well was probably bone dry. Watching online acquaintances whine and pull strings made me cringe. The FOMO, it burned.

Small slivers of hope remained when a few local websites ran giveaways, and the ‘Mats themselves came to the rescue for a handful of fans with a last-minute mailing list contest. Barring those giveaways, the only way for a non-VIP to get in was to be invited by a winner as their +1. Which, miraculously, is how I made it in. Still don’t believe it, frankly. I even felt/feel guilty – because I know too many people who wanted to be there, who should have been there, right alongside me. And they will be when the Replacements book a proper Boston show later this year, right? Sponsored by no one, paid for when we buy our tickets. One can hope.

The recording, with a bunch of show notes and random thoughts below…

The Replacements
Live at the Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
on Monday, April 27th, 2015

[ Download the whole set as a 200MB .zip file ]

01. Seen Your Video
02. Takin’ A Ride
03. Treatment Bound
04. Kissin’ In Action
05. I’m In Trouble
06. Left of the Dial
07. Kiss Me On The Bus
08. Nobody
09. I Will Dare
10. Valentine
11. Waitress In The Sky
12. 20th Century Boy (T Rex cover)
13. All Shook Down
14. Anywhere’s Better Than Here
15. Whole Foods Blues
16. Skinny Black Jeans
17. Sixteen Blue
18. Another Girl, Another Planet
19. Can’t Hardly Wait
20. The Ledge
21. Within Your Reach
22. Bastards of Young
23. Nevermind
24. Unsatisfied
25. Alex Chilton

  • The lineup was ridiculous: The Young Leaves proved themselves a worthy warm-up, wearing their influences on their sleeves (despite frontman Chris Chaisson’s lack of them) while delivering solid songs like seasoned pros. Actual seasoned pros Dinosaur Jr. gave a no-frills set of their more well-known tracks. No smiling, no talking, and no sign of Lou Barlow’s face under that unruly mop. Few bands would throw a cover in as their second song, but Dino did it, and “Just Like Heaven” still rules.

  • The foursome took the stage to the sound of the Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird“, each wearing a Lone Ranger mask, and Paul Westerberg was the first to slide his to his forehead as the band launched into “Seen Your Video” (referred to as “Seen Your Tent” on the setlist, referencing his recent on-stage campouts.

  • That’s the one n’ only Judy Landers alongside Love Boat bartender Isaac on the head of Josh Freese’s kick drum. Didn’t have the heart to correct the guy near me who yelled “Ha! It’s Charo!”. He was so excited.

  • As usual, we got a couple covers/mash-ups/song references during their set, including that take T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” and “Bang a Gong” with Minehan on lead vocals. They dropped a bit of Sabbath into “Kissin’ in Action” and tacked on a little “My Boy Lollipop” to close out “Bastards of Young“.

  • Anyone concerned that a corporate-sponsored free show would shut out quote-unquote ‘real’ fans, resulting in a room full of need-to-be-seensters, well, no worries. The crowd was enthusiastic, smiling, and singing along up where I was. That said, we lost points when, after “Left of the Dial”, someone yelled “Tommy!” at Paul. His response? “You don’t even know my fuckin’ name!” Ouch.

  • Westerberg acknowledged the business-borne freeness of the show a couple times, promising “You’ll be gettin’ your money’s worth tonight, I gare-own-fuckin-tee-it…” after “Kiss Me On The Bus“, and joking “We should let them make their picks, seein’ as they paid… oh, they didn’t…”. There was a point during a solo where he started moving mock-robotically, and I probably read too much subtext into it.

  • Recent shows have the band throwing in goofy new number “Whole Foods Blues“, which is at least more coherent than that 24-minute jazz thing they spit out at Christmas. On Monday, however, they followed it up with a sample of another bluesy toss-off, “Skinny Black Jeans (That Do What The Gym Could Not)“. At the very least, those guys are having fun fuckin’ around in the studio.

  • Loved that we got a solitary trombone during “Can’t Hardly Wait“. Anyone know who that guy was?

  • I have no idea why Paul absolutely obliterated his 12-string acoustic before he even used it for the encore – tuning problems, I assume. Poor acoustic guitar, now nothing but shards. Looking at the planned setlist below, we were going to get “Skyway“, but got “Unsatisfied” instead. Hey, I’ll take it.

  • If you’ve seen photos or video from this tour so far, you’ve likely noticed that Westerberg is wearing a different spray-painted white t-shirt each night, with a new letter on the front and back. I spent awhile going through the online evidence, and here’s what we’ve got so far…

    City / Front / Back
    Seattle: “I” / “N”
    Portland: “H” / “O”
    San Francisco: “A” / “W”
    LA night 1: “V” / “I”
    LA night 2: “E” / “M”
    Denver: “A” / “U”
    Cambridge: “L” / “S”
    Chicago night 1: “W” / “T”
    Chicago night 2: “A” / “W”

    We’re getting 1 sentence on the front, 1 on the back, so…

    front: “I HAVE ALWA..”
    back: “NOW I MUST W…”

    “I have always… now I must w…”.

    What exactly are you trying to tell us, Mr. Westerberg?

    UPDATE 5/11: Now that we’re done with the planned U.S. dates, it’s more obvious where we’re heading. The latest letters, including a couple he shared from his hotel while recovering from an illness that postponed the Pittsburgh & Columbus shows…

    Milwaukee: “Y” / “H”
    Detroit: “S” / “O”
    Pittsburgh (canceled): “L” / “R”
    Columbus (canceled): “O” / “E”
    DC: “V” / “M”
    Philly: “E” / “Y”

    So “I HAVE ALWAYS LOVE…”
    back: “NOW I MUST WHORE MY…”

    “I will always love you, now I must whore myself”? Oh, Paul.

    (end of 5/11 update)m>

    The boys hit Milwaukee tomorrow night, so keep your eyes peeled. I’ll be in Philly next weekend to see the final letters for myself.

    And, of course, I was told there’s a “Paul’s Shirt” Facebook page tracking this (because of course there is!), which would have saved me a bunch of time. Still enjoyed the search, though.

  • Lots of great post-show words & pictures to go through if you’re so inclined: Maura for the Globe, Jed for the Herald, Tim for the Dig, Josh for Do617, Johnny for Daykamp Music, Ben for BDCwire, Michael & Matthew for Vanyaland, Deanna & Tom at Allston Pudding. My own set of shots can be found on Flickr or Facebook.

  • For more live recordings, be sure to hit the indispensable Replacements Live Archive Project.


    (not quite) The Replacements setlist – Cambridge, MA – 4/27/2015

    Comments

    6 Responses to “[Words & MP3s] The Replacements live at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts”

    1. Michelle
      May 1st, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

      Cool, love the Replacements and great live!! ! Check out my blog and please give me a follow back L) Thanks!

    2. earthdog70
      May 1st, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

      Great review and so cool you made it there. Have fun at the Philly show!

    3. peter
      May 1st, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

      thanks for the download!!!

    4. steve
      May 1st, 2015 @ 10:47 pm

      Great summary. I too was fortunate enough to be a +1, and felt a bit guilty since I’m old enough to have seen two shows with Bob for chrissakes. Does make me more worthy? Probably not, there were a couple of college students standing behind me who knew every word.

    5. ken f
      May 2nd, 2015 @ 11:32 pm

      Thank you!!!

    6. bobby gzus
      May 14th, 2015 @ 4:38 pm

      Great post and Thanks for the audio!

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