The Replacements

By William Brents

Saturday, June 1st, was a day that I'd been anticipating ever since I heard the Replacements were going to perform at the prestigious Macauley Theatre.

During the week of the "big show" I received some not-so-constructive criticism from my wife for monopolizing the tape deck and continuously running through the entire Replacement catalogue. Since she is a big fan herself, I realized my listening binges had become a bit much. But am I to blame? I think not; the tough and poignant laced music by an addictive band was to blame for my indulgent behavior.

And speaking of behaving, that's one area that the band has undoubtedly cleaned up. In the past they've been known to stumble onstage (occasionally sporting dresses) and play twenty minutes of the most intoxicating, noisy rock ever displayed.

Not so these days, as leader Paul Westerberg humbly took the stage smoking a cigarette (he still has at least one bad habit) and looking like he was willing to hang grand for awhile.

The Replacements opened with the classic "I Will Dare" and then proceeded with nearly thirty more selections which included "Achin' to Be," "Color Me Impressed," "Swingin' Party" and "Cruella De Ville."

The bulk of the set relied on new material off their latest LP All Shook Down. While most of the songs stood up to the live test, a few just didn't click. "Bent Out of Shape" and especially "Happy Town" did click, and when the Replacements click they're nothing less than grand.

Bassist Tommy Stinson punctuated his enthusiastic presence by handling the lead vocals on one rather intense number. Lead guitarist Slim Dunlap (not an intense individual) handled his "parts" well enough to escape my scrutiny. Although, running into Slim in the lobby, I couldn't help notice that he's a taller, thinner and hairier version of Uncle Fester from the Addams Family.

New drummer Steve Foley effectively banged his way through the old and new stuff as if he'd been a Replacement his entire life.

For the older, more experienced fans the show probably verged on mediocrity. On the other hand, I'm sure the young, new fans were blown away. For me, the show represented both aspects.

All in all, spending a Saturday night with friends watching a great American band do what they do couldn't have been more fulfilling.