The Replacements @ Riot Fest Denver

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 11:34:26 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Live Shows)
For every two hours of fun, there are 20 hours of bullshit.
Doug Hopkins said that once. Today has been like that. Ridiculous waits of over an hour for buses and rental cars; getting a pain in the ass behemoth sed rental car; getting bumped from our hotel room to a shithole room without pillows or toilet paper; and then being fleeced $15 to park the car about 2 miles away from the festival stage. A good 14 hours of bullshit. For an hour and a half of fun.

And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

We arrived at May Farms at Buyers just ahead of sunset. The orange sunset on the horizon in the middle of east jesus nowhere was the one redeeming part of the ridiculously long hike from where we parked to the show. We were in time to see Rocket From The Crypt. I don't know them at all, but was interested to see them given Jim Adkins referenced them as an influence in an article I recently read.

After their set, it was time to scout the grounds. Katie spotted the "Artist Merch" area. Well, there went our doing this trip "as cheap as possible". Out of all the booths, it the Mat's area that was a buzz of activity. After much deliberation, we dropped over 100 bucks. How often do you get to see The Replacements? There was no choice in the matter. When we're out on the streets, maybe we can eat that $30 poster, that was ridiculously over priced, but we just had to have.

After stuffing our pockets with t-shirts, so we wouldn't have to hold them throughout the show, we headed over to the main stage where AFI were now playing. It was pretty dark by this point, with a impressive full moon coming up over the horizon. At first I didn't notice the extent of the crowd watching AFI. But with some flashes of light from the stage, the extent of the sea of people became apparent. And made the idea of getting anywhere close to the stage seem questionable. But we decided to sacrifice Iggy Pop to gain a somewhat decent spot for The Mats.

While we waited a girl walked past handing out DVD's. Y'know, the sort of thing where the contents are invariably nothing you care about, and it's just a pain in the ass to hold onto throughout the night. I was staring off into the distance as Katie let out a squeal of glee. On the DVD was a Maine video. How random. And cool. Guess we won't use that random handout as a coaster after all.

My knowledge of AFI is limited to a co-worker that listened to them about 10 years ago. I could give a shit less about their screamo appeal back then, and not much has changed there. Though, they did do a cover of Just Like Heaven, so I've got to give them props for that. It is the one part of the set I did pay attention to.

Once their set ended, the sea of people quickly migrated to the adjacent stage for Iggy Pop. We swooped on the opportunity like vultures. I was frankly amazed how easily we were able to walk up pretty close the the stage as people moved in the other direction. There were a contingent of obvious Mat's fans already in front of the stage, and we were able to join them, literally 7 lines of people away from the stage. It was about an hour before The Mats took the stage, but holy shit, was this really happening? Yeah, yeah it was. We stood guard to those positions for the next hour.

Around 10:30, the lights went down, and out strolled The Replacements, all in bright orange cowboy hats, checkered cowboy shirts, and Paul and Tommy rounding out the ensembles with pink skirts. Seriously? Not only was I seeing The Replacements; not only was I seeing The Replacements up close - I was about to see The Replacements play in fucking skirts. Maybe we had died and gone to heaven.

After some banter from Paul, it was into Takin' A Ride and through a set list which was recognizable from the boots of the past 2 shows. It was glorious. Every word was screamed as loud as I could. The band sounded fantastic, and with just enough fuck ups to make it impossible to miss the fact that it was The Replacements on stage in front of us. Of note to me was how Westerberg sounded on the punkier early numbers. He didn't sound like a guy in his 50's doing a reunion tour. He sounded just like he did on those 30 years ago. That's a rare thing to witness in a band.

The set list took a diversion from the previous shows when Paul announced that they should do something they didn't know. "Shiftless When Idle. It's in F#". That was a very welcomed surprised to me. I couldn't help but think of Bob during that one. You'd think it would have been because of the skirts. But it wasn't.

Hangin' Downtown followed, then a Hootenanny-ish rendition of I Got Spurs. A very loose, screw around Replacements-que affair, which immediately went into a very tight and loud Color Me Impressed. That was all sorts of amazing. It's hard to pick highlights, but if I were to do so, Color Me Impressed qualifies.

Tommy got some well deserved [wink] shit about being in Gunners (err...Van Halen [wink] ) by the crowd and Westerberg before the band went into Kiss Me On The Bus. Paul mentioned something about "no-one's crying" after it, which was appropriate given Katie's comment earlier the week: "There is no crying in baseball, but there absolutely is in rock 'n roll.". True to that appropriateness, the band launched into Achin' To Be. That was one of "those" concert moments.

Androgynous was a cool sing along, as Paul forgot the words. Well, "forgot" the words. And no doubt to fuck with things, Paul double timed I Will Dare half way through. I'm pretty sure he wanted to wheels to come off, and was probably annoyed that David was very quick to keep up with the change. I could swear I could sense annoyance from Paul in that moment. I could be full of shit though.

By the time the band got to Little Mascara, everything was just purely ecstasy. Left Of The Dial was amazing. It's impossible to pick a favorite Mat's song. Impossible. But Left Of The Dial slays me, for the reasons it does, and witnessing the band performing that was one of those life moments that you couldn't prepare yourself for. So much gravitas flooded in with that, in an overwhelming way. So much to fit in to the span of a 3 minute song, and it was like running down a hill faster than your legs can actually take you. Trying to deal with that gravitas, with the song moving like a speeding freight train that doesn't give a shit whether it's leaving you behind. So often when I listen to Left Of The Dial, I end up putting on repeat over and over. That was a moment of last night that I wish I could put on repeat and live over and over again. It was one of those moments. It was massive. If I don't see you, in a long long while, I'll try to find you left of the dial.

And there wasn't time to process it. or reflect after the song had finished, as the band launched immediately into Alex Chilton. That freight train was rolling out of control, so just try to keep up or be left behind. A moment to catch your breath came after Hold My Life as Paul goofed off with Hello Goodbye by The Beatles. The Replacements that were straining your every emotion, every nerve, turned into that lighthearted, goof off band that you laughed at and with.

With that breather out of the way, they then launched back into the other mode, starting out with Can't Hardly Wait. I've seen that song performed before, several times. This was seeing it performed for real.

Following that, the freight train sped out of control again with Bastards Of Young. That was just like Left Of The Dial for me, for pretty much the same reasons. This was the second moment that I would give anything to be able to re-live again whenever I wanted. So much to take in, but there was no time, you just had to scream the lyrics with the band and everyone around you and try to keep up. Was it the pinnacle of the show? Yeah, it probably was.

Paul announced that "there's a curfew in Kansas", the band hap-haphazardly left the stage. Minutes past, and they walked back out, with Paul taking up the drum kit, and the band swapped instruments for an old fashioned Hootenanny. Again - holy shit. The band bumbled through that, then an amused Paul insisted everyone stay in their Hootenanny positions, calling out to the audience for requests. (Props to whoever it was behind me that called out for Satellite!). The did band Detroit Rock City, then Tommy broke into Substitute, where Westerberg launched into a spastic over enthusiastic drum roll, ending up throwing the drum sticks in the air, heading to the front of the stage, ridiculously twirling the mic which immediately become detached from the lead. Amused, he picked it up, looked at it, then launched it into the crowd before exiting the stage once again, with the rest of the band sheepishly following. It was a sloppy mess, Replacements style.

The lights behind the stage lit up resembling a middle finger, while a tech came out and tuned Tommy's bass. We waited. I was dying to scream I.O.U, which had been the closer at the other shows, at the top of my lungs. Minutes passed. The band never returned. At some point, someone announced it was over, the lights came up and house music started. There was some confusion amongst the crowd. Maybe people were like me, thinking "they are going to close strong and go out with I.O.U", while actually knowing - that we had just seen The Replacements, and they had completely just Replacemented us. The weren't coming back. The weren't going to play I.O.U. They weren't going to end strong. They were going to give you what you came for - a Replacements show, complete with them being total fuck ups. It was mildly confusing, mostly anti-climatic and slightly disappointing. It was the fucking perfect ending to a Replacements show.

I could be wrong, but nothing says "we'll see you in another 22 years" more than closing a show with a ramshackle Hootenanny and then never returning to the stage. When we pulled the trigger on the decision to go to this show, I thought it was a 50/50 chance that they're tour outside of Riot Fest. As we were being ushered away from the stage, those odds dropped drastically in my mind. We'll see, but it further confirmed that making out to this show was absolutely something that we had no choice in, we had to do it. If they tour, great, and we'll see them again. If they don't, I will die having seen the fucking Replacements. Completely worth all the money we spent to do it.

And the 20 hours of bullshit.

Color Me...Excited

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 11:11:41 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Y'know that excited/impatient/anxious feeling you got as a kid a leading up to Christmas? I've been reminded of what that feels like this week.

I'd downloaded a recording of the 'Mat's Chicago show one night this week, and almost lost it when I was listening to it at work the next day and Bastards Of Young came on. I really can't wait for Saturday.

Oh, why? Because we're going to see the Replacements in Denver, if that hasn't become obvious.

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