The Replacements took to the stage at London’s Roundhouse for the first of two reunion shows – their first UK performances in more than two decades.
The band were in fine form, kicking things off with the Ramones-inspired surf-rocker Takin’ A Ride then segueing into such classics as Waitress In The Sky, Kiss Me On The Bus (substituting ‘bus’ for ‘tube’ in true London reverence) and Color Me Impressed.
Featuring original members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, and including new members Dave Minahan (guitar) and Josh Freese (drums), the band managed to rock without sounding too polished and maintained a sense of fun and chaos. They were only a few songs into the set when Westerberg asked for the audience to decide what they should play. “Requests, any requests?”, he pleaded. Amid a deluge of excitedly yelled suggestions he then coolly stated: “I’m going to wait til I hear something written on the list”.
The audience were happy with the delivery of long familiar tracks including the touchingly ballad-like Androgynous, the Hank Williams cover Lost Highway and the sweet-sounding but hollow-hearted Talent Show. Cover versions of great blues and rock ‘n’ roll classics were placed neatly in the set before the Mats wound it up a notch again and really let loose on Alex Chilton and the wonderful encore including I.O.U. and Another Girl Another Planet.
Amid subsequent rumours that the band are pulling the plug on any further reunion shows after this tour, tonight’s audience can count themselves lucky to have seen a curious and notorious live act – still delivering and not feeling like replacements for anything.
Photography and Review by Imelda Michalczyk. Imelda is also known as Rebeladelica and has her own great website here: www.rebeladelica.com