The Replacements did not really need to generate any more excitement for their Sept. 13 hometown concert at Midway Stadium -- tickets for which go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. – but they’ve done just that by letting out the names of the concert’s two opening acts: The Hold Steady and Lucero, both well-known to be heavily influenced by the ‘Mats.
Neither of the openers was named in the initial announcement of the Saints ballpark show, probably as a means to add buzz on the eve of ticket sales by announcing them now. However, another factor was a couple of previously booked local gigs that fall between now and September. Twin Cities-bred Brooklyn rockers the Hold Steady are making their Minnesota Zoo debut on July 5 – about the only outdoor venue the boys haven’t yet played in town (that, and Midway Stadium). Lucero’s singer Ben Nichols is also set to play a solo set at 7th Street Entry on June 9.
Even without the added names, tickets to the Replacements’ first local gig in 23 years already appeared to be in high-demand. Local fans lit up Twitter and Facebook with complaints on Wednesday and Thursday after being shut out of each of the concert's four different pre-sale ticket options within 15 minutes or so of their start. Sample complaint: “Why doesn’t God want me to see the Replacements?”
God doesn't hate you, 'Mats fans, but you may want to pray a little before the general on-sale starts in the morning. First Ave staff said it will only have about 200 tickets to sell in person at the Depot Tavern. So unless you want to line up early, eTix remains your best option. About 13,000 tickets total are being sold to the show. Because it’s the band’s only non-festival date – and is in their hometown – many ‘Mats fans from all over the country have expressed interest in attending.
Anybody who knows the Hold Steady’s music knows its members would be as excited as any other fans to attend the show, much less perform at it. The band’s frontman Craig Finn was one of the primary talkers in the 2011 Replacements fan documentary “Color Me Obsessed.” He has also repeatedly referenced them in interviews and played tributes to them, including one at the Bowery Ballroom in 2011 (where he dressed as a Minneapolis policeman to kick off “Kids Don’t Follow” with Titus Andronicus). And then there was Finn's surprise appearance to sing “Skyway” at the annual post-Thanksgiving tribute at First Ave in 2012, posted below.
One of the Replacements' many ties to the great city of Memphis -- where they recorded their 1987 album "Pleased to Meet Me" with Jim Dickinson -- Tennessean twang rockers Lucero have been known to play a mean 'Mats cover too. Here's a rocking version they did of an early B-Side, also posted below.