We Review The Replacements' Set At Riot Fest Chicago!!

Stinson, left. and Westerberg, center, sharing the stage once again in Chicago.
(photo by Ben Clark)
As the Replacements took the stage Sunday night to the strains of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life", the exhausted but jubilant Humboldt Park may not have known what to expect, but they were more than ready for whatever Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson would throw at them.

Of course, the last time the band performed in our fair city 22 years ago, they were a ramshackle critical favorite running on fumes after the departure of drummer Chris Mars.  With roadies replacing band members until none remained, by the time the music came to an end mere moments later, so had the band.

On Sunday night, however, remaining members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson came back to town as headliners of Chicago's Riot Fest, bringing with them the same self-effacing humor and attitude that made each and every soul in attendance fall in love with these crazy ne'er-do-wells all those years ago.

Sure, it was a total nostalgia trip - the band's set list a valiant attempt to touch upon all facets of their career, from the snarky punk snarl of "Takin' A Ride" to the wistful "Achin' To Be" - but it was delivered with all the intimacy and devil-may-care sloppiness of the most awesome backyard BBQ, with Westerberg chiding guitarist Dave Minehan at one point for employing a guitar sound a little too similar to The Cure on "Swingin' Party" and then drawing a blank on the words to the second verse.

Admittedly, the crowd was more respectful than participatory, but all of that changed when Westerberg unleashed the opening riff to "Left of The Dial", at which point everybody lost their shit.  It was at this precise moment that many in attendance realized the gaping hole that the band's lengthy absence had left on the musical landscape and how good it felt to have them back

Set list:

Takin a Ride
I’m in Trouble
My Favorite Thing
Hangin' Downtown
I Don’t Know
Color Me Impressed
Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
Achin’ to Be
I Will Dare
Love You Till Friday
Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
Merry Go Round
Wake Up
Borstal Breakout (Sham 69)
Little Mascara
Left of the Dial
Alex Chilton
Swingin' Party
Kiss Me on the Bus
Waitress in The Sky
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Hold My Life

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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