The Replacements at Riot Fest Denver, 9/21/13

Photo by Jon Solomon
Paul Westerberg of the Replacements at Riot Fest Denver in Byers, Colorado
The Replacements
Riot Fest, Denver, Colorado
Saturday, September 21, 2013

Surely it wasn't lost on anyone when Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson came on stage wearing pink skirts and orange cowboy hats. The two were clearly nodding to the absence of Stinson's late brother Bob, who frequently performed in such attire. Clad as they were, the two deftly addressed the issue without having to say a thing, all the while making a sly, sardonic statement at the same time. It was the perfect symbol for how the Replacements' songs make no bones about everyday life, and how it's important to have a sense of humor even about things that seem unmentionable in polite company.

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Kim Owens

The set itself was part the Replacements and part "the 'Mats." The foursome played many of its most beloved songs but also threaded in covers and micro covers inside other songs for what seemed like a classic Replacements show as much as it could be in a big music festival format. The band did its level best in that regard.

Kim Owens
At the end of "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out," the guys played a bit of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From the Sun." At the beginnings of other songs the Replacements teased, to varying degrees of seriousness and success, bits of the Beatles, the Who and others, and the band also played more or less full covers of "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry and "Borstal Breakout" by Sham 69. The Chuck Berry song came in attached to a Replacements song. That kind of free association and goofing, planned or otherwise, seemed to irk a few people, but it's the Replacements, and that's what they do; it's part of the band's charm.

Svetlana Joukova
At one point, someone made some remark to Stinson about "You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby." And Stinson said, amiably, "I knew that was going to come up." Westerberg seemed to chuckle silently and made a remark about giving Stinson shit about being in Van Halen "bus driving." After that lighthearted burn, fittingly, the band went into "Kiss Me On the Bus."

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