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It’s not as major-league as Paul McCartney at Target Field, but Twin Cities rock fans will still consider the Replacements’ long-awaited hometown reunion concert at Midway Stadium on Sept. 13 a grand slam. Tickets for the show – billed as their “homecoming concert” – will go on sale next Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. for $50 through eTix.com, the stadium’s box office and First Avenue outlets.
As curious as everything else the ‘Mats have done so far on their reunion run – five shows and counting since last August – the press release announcing the concert went out at 10:40 p.m. tonight. It promises “some very special guests” for opening acts at the show.
Unless more dates get added in the meantime, the hometown gig will wind up being the ninth performance in the band’s reunion run, which also includes festivals in Atlanta, Montreal and Louisville, Ky. However, because all the other shows have been or will be festival sets, the Midway concert is being billed as their "first full headline performance." Does that make up for having to wait so long for it, fans?
Band leaders Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson played their first shows together as the Replacements since 1991 with two replacement members at three RiotFests in Toronto, Chicago and Denver last August and September. From the get-go, the response from longtime fans and most critics was resoundingly positive – somewhat surprising, given the band’s erratic reputation as a live act during its ‘80s heyday. Of course, they do still like to goof off, as was the case at last weekend’s Coachella Fest, where Westerberg went and laid on a couch while Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong took over.
After a lull in concerts for many summers, Midway Stadium -- where the St. Paul Saints play -- hosted the Americanarama concert last summer with Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket. The sold-out attendance for that show was around 12,000.
This will be Westerberg's first real local gig since a 2007 taping at First Avenue. It will be the first 'Mats hometown concert since a Feb. 7, 1991, gig at the Orpheum Theatre, which included many of the songs they have been playing this go-around (per Jon Bream's review from '91). That show featured late local drummer Steve Foley and sidelined guitarist Slim Dunlap.
It was Dunlap's mounting medical bills from a severe stroke that first brought Westerberg and Stinson back together under the Replacements banner in late 2012 to launch the "Songs for Slim" series. The band's original drummer, Chris Mars, still lives in Minneapolis but has stayed away from the reunion shows. Original guitarist Bob Stinson (Tommy's older brother) died in 1995 and had been fired from the band a decade earlier.
Sort of a reboot of last year’s unique Bayfront double-bill with Atmosphere and the previous summer’s Rock the Garden lineup, Trampled by Turtles will pair up with Doomtree for another unlikely melding of bluegrassy acoustic folk-rock and spazzy electronic hip-hop at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth on June 28. Hometown favorites Low and Haley Bonar, who got her start in the Twin Ports music scene, will also perform at the outdoor show. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon for $25 via eTix.com, or in person at First Avenue outlets.
Last year’s First Avenue-promoted Bayfront gig with Atmosphere and Trampled (on the same weekend as this year’s) was a smash success, drawing 9,000 fans – the biggest crowd either of the Minnesota groups has played to in Duluth. By comparison, the big Americanarama bill with Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket that came a couple weeks later to Bayfront only drew about 7,000.
Trampled and Doomtree also performed together on the all-Minnesota-rooted Rock the Garden lineup in 2012, and fans didn’t seem to suffer any sort of musical whiplash transitioning from “Bangarang” to “Wait So Long.” The show will serve as a hometown release party of sorts for TBT’s latest album, “Wild Animals,” which arrives July 15. They’re not scheduled to play in Minnesota after that until their big Palomino Festival at Canterbury Park in Shakopee on Sept. 20.
On the Doomtree front, the Bayfront show and a Moorhead gig a night earlier (also with Trampled) will be the group’s first gigs since December’s Blowout shows, and possibly P.O.S.’ first performance since his kidney transplant in February.
Our favorite outdoor venue in Minnesota, the harborside Bayfront Park amphitheater only has one other big show confirmed on the summer calendar so far, the 26th annual Bayfront Blues Festival Aug. 8-10 with Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Los Lonely Boys.
Maxwell and Michael McDonald, soul men of divergent styles, are coming back to the Twin Cities this summer.
Maxwell will return June 15 to the State Theatre, as part of his 35-city Summer Solstice Tour that is skipping such major markets as New York, Miami, Philly and Dallas. The neo-soul singer hasn’t released an album since 2009. Tickets, priced from $35.50-$125, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the State box office and hennepintheatretrust.org.
McDonald, known for hits with the Doobie Brothers as well as his interpretations of Motown classics, will perform June 29 at the Mystic Lake Casino showroom. Tickets, priced at $31 and $39, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ticketmaster.com and 952-445-9000.
In other concert news, Broken Bells – the indie-rock duo of Danger Mouse and James Mercer – will return Aug. 3 at the State Theatre. The group kicked off its winter tour in February with a sold-out show at First Avenue. Tickets, priced at $37.50, will go on sale at 11 a.m. Friday at the State box office, 800-745-3000 and Ticketmaster outlets.
The Replacements haven’t announced a Twin Cities date – yet. But word came today that, after playing Coachella for two weekends, the ‘Mats will play the Austin City Limits Festival in October in Texas – along with Eminem, OutKast, Pearl Jam, Skrillex, Beck, Lorde and many others.
The Mats also have scheduled performances at the Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta on May 10 and Forecastle fest in Louisville on July 20.
Jose James knows how to strike a balance.
A balance between hometown folksiness and passionate professionalism, between new and old material, between rehearsed and improvised – and most of all between styles, blending jazz, soul, hip-hop and rock into his own distinctive style.
In front of a full house at the Cedar Cultural Center Monday, the Minneapolis-reared, Brooklyn-based James previewed his forthcoming fifth album, “While You Were Sleeping,” due in June.
The spare, spacey “U r the 1” hadn’t quite come together yet but the rest of the new material impressed, including the atmospheric “While You Were Sleeping,” “4 Noble Truths” with its swirling intensity and an elegant reading of Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful.”
Speaking of Green, a number dubbed “Al Green Remix” was one of the night’s highlights as James kept singing lines from such Green songs as “Love and Happiness” and “I’m Still in Love with You” as if they were samples and he was a hip-hop DJ scratching the samples. Later, during a free-wheeling 40-minute version of “Park Bench People,” he sampled a little Nirvana and also let his four first-rate musicians take solos.
Other older numbers stood out, including the Adele-evoking, pop-soul “Come to My Door” and the closing ballad “Do You Feel.” Both tunes came from 2013's "No Beginning No End," which was my top album of last year.
And there was plenty of time for hometown chatter about having worked across the street at Depth of Field, having done a pre-concert interview on KFAI and having turned down a part in a South High production of “West Side Story” because it was in the American, not Puerto Rican, gang.
But Monday was truly about the music and James’ inspired balance and blend. In his nearly two-hour performance, the versatile and deeply talented singer, 36, demonstrated the warmth of Lou Rawls, the intimacy of Bill Withers, the intellect of Gil Scott-Heron and the adventurousness of Sly Stone.
James’ mother (who was in the audience), father, the folks at Minneapolis’ South High (some of whom were there) and James’ mentor Louis Alemayehu (who was there), among others, certainly did right by him.
The Minnesota Twins and 96.3 KTWIN will announce at 11 a.m. Monday a concert for Target Field for this summer.
We’d like to hope it’s Paul McCartney, who couldn’t work out a deal with the Twins in 2011 (we heard stadium officials were driving too hard a bargain and, um, you don’t exactly negotiate with Sir Paul, who has a set way of doing stadium shows). But McCartney’s 2014 U.S. summer schedule thus far involves 10 arena concerts and no stadium gigs (though he is playing in stadiums in Japan and Costa Rica).
So our best guess is Billy Joel because he’s booked baseball-stadium concerts in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for this summer.
And they are actually two-fer shows, with a country-music stadium show booked for either the day before or day after, starring either Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton or Jason Aldean. That way the promoter – in these cases it’s Live Nation – can amortize the steep cost of building a stage over two concerts.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Garth Brooks is going the stadium route for his comeback tour in 2014 but you wouldn’t expect KTWIN -- sort of a classic-rock station that also broadcasts the Twins game -- to make that announcement. Plus, he'll have a reveal with huge fanfare.
Or maybe the Twins have finally convinced hometown hero Prince to step up to the plate – or perhaps it would more accurately be a case of the ballclub willing to pay his price. Never one to plan too far in advance, he is booked in the New Orleans Superdome on July 4 and rumored for England’s big Glastonbury Festival in late June.
One Direction announced its 29 North American stadium dates for 2014 last year, so it would be questionable that the boy-band would add a Target Field gig now.
Jimmy Buffett has booked one stadium concert for this summer (in Detroit), and the Eminem/Rihanna tour is set for stadiums in Detroit, New Jersey and Pasadena, Calif., but I doubt either of those tours is headed to the Twins stadium.
And the much ballyhooed 20-stadium Jay Z/Beyonce tour -- no venues have been announced for Mr. and Mrs. Carter -- isn't likely to come to a Twin Cities ballpark after he filled only half an arena in St. Paul on a Saturday night last year.
Whatever the Target Field concert is, we’ll have an update at 11 a.m. Monday.
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