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The Replacements – For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986

October 26, 2017

One of my top-five concerts of all time was The Replacements 2014 reunion show at Midway Stadium in St. Paul Minnesota. I was shocked at how good they could play, given my memory of their 1987 show at the Orpheum in Minneapolis where they were remarkably awful. The highlight of the 87 show was Westerberg falling off the stage. Their legend was that live they were sublime or they sucked. I have always kicked myself for not catching one of those sublime shows from the glory years. Finally, there is a document of the original lineup’s greatness with this recording of a 1986 show.

Poster from 2014 reunion show

One of my vivid memories of the 1987 show was that the boys wore overalls and the Orpheum stage was stripped bare.

In 1986, the band was at their critical and commercial height. They had signed to Sire, released the critically acclaimed album Tim and performed a career defining middle finger salute on Saturday Night Live (which resulted in them being banned from the show). Sire’s plan was to use this recording as a promotion tool given the boys refusal to play the MTV video game. When guitarist Bob Stinson was kicked out of the band shortly after the show, Sire shelved this recording and it has been sitting gathering dust for 30 years.

This is a quality live recording and remarkably the boys are on good behavior and not subverting the Sire investment in a legitimate live recording. It is a nice snapshot of their catalog at that point in their career. The guitar interplay between Westerberg and Stinson is delightful. It could be argued that this was the end of The Replacements because subsequent albums became more and more Westerberg solo albums. So if you never got a chance to see them live, or if you did and you want a great souvenir, this album is highly recommend.

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From → Music Reviews

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