On July 4, 1991, when the legendary Minneapolis power pop punk misfits The Replacements handed their instruments to their roadies onstage at the Taste of Chicago festival to finish out the song “Hootenanny,” it was the last the world saw of The Replacements… until last night.
A long-rumored but always seemingly out of reach reunion finally kicked off in style last night in Toronto at 8:45 pm when original members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson took the stage at the first of three RiotFest appearances. As they strapped on their instruments, Paul nonchalantly joked that they’d been away for 22 years because of an unresolved wardrobe debate, then proclaimed “here’s some old shit” to kick off “Takin’ a Ride” – the first of a 23-song barnburner of a set list that saw the band dipping deep into their catalogue. Playing the bulk of the first half of their set list from their early releases with Minneapolis label Twin-Tone, the band played with bouncing urgency and trademark Replacements sloppiness, including botched lyrics on such classics as “Androgynous” and “I Will Dare.”
As the clips below demonstrate, the band was having a blast onstage. In the crowd, the Toronto audience seemed to be collectively pinching itself at their good fortune, chanting along the lyrics to every song.
When they next hit the stage, in Chicago’s Humboldt Park on Sept. 15, Weeping Elvis will be providing live coverage. They are scheduled to close out this three-stop reunion tour in Denver on Sept. 22. Will that be it? Will they mount a full tour or will they duck back into the musical shadows for another 22 years? There have been discussions of new original songs (the band recently completed an EP to benefit ailing former band mate Slim Dunlop) and a possible album of new material. But for now, Paul and Tommy aren’t saying, opting instead to let the music say everything that needs to be said.
Here’s the setlist:
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” (“Special request from our friend Slim back home”) 20. “Can’t Hardly Wait” 21. “Bastards of Young”
Encore: 22. “Everything is Coming Up Roses” (From ‘Songs For Slim’ EP) 23. “IOU”
You can stream the entire show via the Replacements Live Archive Project.