So last night I saw the Replacements live. Not something I actually thought I would ever get the chance to say. They always seemed to be one of those bands that existed in legend and myths. A story that was carved somewhere on stone centuries ago and their albums were left as testaments in a religious book. Okay granted, until a few months ago I didn’t actually know they had reunited in 2012. I guess I don’t get out much.
Today I genuinely thought I would be writing a review, but when it finally came to write something here I had no idea what I wanted to say about last night. Many a bad circumstances meant that I was really not looking forward to seeing them. This is an absolutely ridiculous statement considering a few years ago I only lived off of Replacement records. I owned them all. Paul Westerberg sang into my ears nearly every single day as I walked back and forth to my college classes. They were a pretty big part of my music life, and I never wanted to listen to them again.
These tickets were a gift so I knew I had to go with all the smiles and gratitude I could muster – which is very difficult for someone who had a massive anxiety attack the day before. So no, there weren’t very many. But if I can sort through my still-clouded mind I would have to say that The Mats were great. They sounded like home and the crowd were enjoying it so much (they have played in the UK date for nearly 25 years).
Their setlist spanned their diverse sound. ‘Bigger songs’ (as big as it gets for the Replacements) were present, but the smart decision chosing to appease the fans who knew their back catalogue. They even reminded me how much I love tunes like “Little Mascara” and “Skyway.” Really, the lyrics in some of those songs have to be contestants for some of the greats and filled the Roundhouse with their magic. The band even threw in a couple covers of Jackson 5 and Alice Cooper for good measure.
Apparently they closed their Tuesday night show with “Another Girl, Another Planet,” which I guess we were waiting for. But suddenly it was over. No long held out strumming for applause. Nothing. It was over like ripping off an especially adhesive bandage.
If I could redo this week, I would give anything to clear my head and genuinely enjoy the musicians that were before me Wednesday. But if last night served as a reminder, it was that sometimes we don’t as far as we think we do. When I heard “Can’t Hardly Wait” I was instantly brought back to an awful memory I was trying to avoid. It was the only time I ever cried at a concert. Not even the sweet brought-to-tears type.
We listen to music for many reasons, but one of those is to feel like someone is there for us even if we feel completely alone when the music stops. And sometimes that music that we love is still very precious, but is way too much to painful to listen to even years after we think we’ve moved on.
Forgive me for being a bit outside my usual writing, this was a very unconformable post to write. I’ve been told people sometimes like reading these things. I really doubt that.