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 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.