I know I recently said that Pere Ubu sound like the Midwest – all post-industrial, bent-out-of-shape weirdness – but the very heart and soul of Midwestern rock n' roll was, and still is The Replacements. Why? Because unlike the Jersey boys and girls that Springsteen sang about who just wanted to get the fuck out and start new lives, Paul Westerberg wrote anthems for the throngs of bored but not too lazy to go anywhere kids from the Rust Belt: the dairy towns of Wisconson, the burnt out Detroit suburbs, and of course his home state where many are born but few ever leave, Minnesota.
In October of 1985, to celebrate the release of the album Tim – the one that would surely make them the biggest band in the universe – The 'Mats took their hometown of Minneapolis by storm with a five night stand at the 7th Street Entry. A second after some random crowd member yells out “more amphetamines” like beer-soaked tigers sprung from their cage, Westerberg and Co. absolutely rip the venue apart for a set nearly two times the length of the album they were releasing.
Giving a listen to this show, one grasps that The Replacements might have been on the cusp of becoming the group of guys that made it, one hit away from forever cementing their reputation as the great American band. But something went wrong, and like many of the greats they came up just short in their own time only to influence an entire generation after their demise. But on this autumn night in October, from the originals to the covers (Alice Cooper's classic “Eighteen” makes an appearance here), there was no band that could match The Replacements in the entire world. I'd be hard pressed to find anyone that could even today, but as things go it was just never meant to be.