After two decades, Replacements return to Chicago

The Replacements ripped through more than two dozen songs, ranging from the band’s earliest work to a (mercifully small) sampling from its final two albums, as Riot Fest came to a close in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Sunday. The show marked the first performance for the Mats (as longtime fans call the band) here since Paul Westerberg broke up the group following a Grant Park concert 22 years ago. As was the case then, Tommy Stinson was the only other original member to join Paul. The set drew heavily from what I consider the core Mats’ albums, Let It Be and Tim, and included songs from another favorite, Pleased to Meet Me. The fact that the band’s first album, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash was better represented than either All Shook Down or Don’t Tell a Soul was a major plus.

It wasn’t a perfect set but it was certainly efficient. The sloppy drunk shows are long gone and, to be fair, they really were history near the end of the band’s run. Paul joked with the crowd but there was actually very little spontaneity. This was a show for the Mats’ super fans who (older now) were less interested in shenanigans and much more eager to hear their favorite songs after a long wait. By that standard, I can’t say the show disappointed. Many of the songs sounded great live and their relevance hasn’t faded all these years later. Check out some really early videos here and watch a clip from Sunday below.

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