I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks…

Let me try to explain what that means to me.  It would be like an extremely devout Catholic meeting the Pope.  Like a Chicago Cubs fan not only seeing their team make it into the World Series, but sweeping the other team.  Like a Jets fan seeing their team go undefeated.  Like buying that Powerball ticket and being the lone winner of a few hundred million dollars.  It’s a dream.  It’s unreal.  It could never happen.

But two weeks from now, on a Sunday evening in Toronto, they will take the stage.  Will they play a perfect set of their most beloved songs?  Will they be in cantankerous moods and play only parts of inconceivable cover songs?  Will they rock?  Roll?  Will they have mellowed with age?  Will they tear the non-existent roof off the fucking joint?  It doesn’t matter.  It’s a Replacements show.  We’re not supposed to know what to expect.  As long as they show up.

There are of course the naysayers.  Those who say, “This isn’t The Replacements, it’s just Paul and Tommy.”  To them I say, “shut the fuck up.”  Bob is gone.  Slim is ill.  And Chris just doesn’t want to be a part of it.  But still, this is Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson taking the stage and playing the songs that changed our lives, that in many cases defined our lives.  If you have issue with it, don’t go.  (Though I truly believe the naysayers are only naysayers because they can’t get to one of the three shows. Put a ticket in their hands and they’d be singing a different tune.)

I think about those I know who’ve never seen the band.  Those who came late to the show (and coming late is a hell of a lot better than never showing up at all), or those who were too young to see the band during their day.  The excitement they must be feeling as they think, I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

I think of all the times one of their songs has figuratively saved by life.  The blaring of “Here Comes A Regular,” and it somehow making me feel just a tad better, because I was not that guy in the song.  The loud out-of-tune howling of “Unsatisfied,” knowing that I was not alone in the world.  I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

I think of the joy songs like “Color Me Impressed” or “Can’t Hardly Wait” or “If Only You Were Lonely” have brought me over the years.  Always played a little too loud.  Often played on endless repeat.  Songs that still make me feel alive to this day.  Songs that make me feel young, invincible, loud, brash, horny, crazy.  The soundtrack to my personal life.  I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

I think of the inspiration the band has given me.  Whether writing a book or working on a film, they were always there in the background.  The soundtrack to my professional life.  Stuck?  Put on a Mats tune. Need to wake up?  Put on a Mats tune.  Done?  Put on a Mats tune.  They were even characters in my first novel.  Not that this band needed to be fictionalized, they were always larger than life.  But what other band would God’s daughter claim as her favorite?  She is divine.  She knows everything.  She knows rock & roll.  Ilona Ann Coggswater would be so happy for me.  I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

I think of the times I’ve seen them live.  One of my favorite musical moments, Paul Westerberg coming back alone for the encore at the Beacon Theatre.  A balloon in hand.  Sucking in the helium.  Singing “Hello Dolly” acapella, then leaving the stage, leaving us all wondering “what the fuck?”  The audience cleared out, and when the last fan had left the building, the band burst back onto the stage, and ripped into a rollicking encore, leaving all of us to rush back in from the street.  If was a moment I’ll never forget.  I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

I think of my wife beautiful Kristine, by my side for thirteen of the fifteen times I’ve seen them.  Married for twenty years now.  Often times people would ask our secret.  I would ask Kris, “What’s your favorite band?”  She’d answer “The Replacements.  What’s yours?”  And I’d answer “The Replacements.”  And that would be the answer to the question.  We’re seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

And of course, I think of being able to direct “Color Me Obsessed, a film about The Replacements.”  Meeting and interviewing so many like-minded fans, some famous, many not, people who knew them, worked with them, produced their albums, wrote about them, were influenced by them, spent more time with them than any of their teenaged friends.  An honor.  I was humbled by the love, the devotion.  I never felt more connected to people in my life.  I was not alone.  And I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks.

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13 Comments

Filed under replacements, replacements reunion, the replacements

13 responses to “I’m seeing The Replacements in two weeks…

  1. Patrick

    Perfect. Perfect piece on this unexpected opportunity. I am traveling from Ohio to Denver for this incredible opportunity to see, well, the band that was extremely influential when I was in my late teens and early 20s regarding rock and roll and remains a constant on my late night work sessions and just general “I need soul to recharge my soul” music sessions. Their stuff still sets the bar. I will be busting my Replacements cherry since I did not see them perform back in the day. Thanks for this narrative…it totally resonates…enjoy the hell out of the Toronto show. I will, I am sure, enjoy the hell out of the Denver show.

  2. Pete Van Dyke

    Man you got me wanting to buy a ticket…actually my friend lives in Denver and his wife is a waitress in the sky…standby/buddy pass favor may be in order! Well written and yes there are some critical ways one may look at this reunion..but YES, let’s not mindfuck it! It’s Paul and Tommy playing OUR songs..Playing OUR soundtracks to our lives!! YES!!!

  3. Harajuku Merle

    The Replacements were a great band but Jesus…this reunion thing is an idea so pathetic and awful that it will effectively ruin the band for good.

  4. Now that my dream of a Mats reunion is coming true, it’s time for the Authoritative Collected Lyrics of Paul Westerberg!

  5. Jeff Z.

    Good on ya, Gorman. Sums up my feelings exactly. Trying to see if I can swing the Chicago show(s)…I still can’t believe it’s true. It’s like the Pixies reuniting, only even less likely.

  6. LibraryLass

    I remember seeing them at Toad’s Place. Tommy Stinson mouthed the words “Do you have any gum ?” to Kris. Not having a extra piece to spare, she took the one from her mouth and handed it to him. And he took it and started chewing.
    Your wife is so cool.

  7. Graham

    Those words sum up exactly why I’m travelling from the UK for this. See you at the front

  8. Bob Ferguson

    I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Hopefully see you in Toronto, Gorman.

  9. I’m looking forward to Chicago! Great post and summed up a lot of what I’m feeling!

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