WRITTEN BY KEN KOLASINSKI
Ah, yes, the final snowstorm of the year. That one that dumps a lot of snow on you, reminds you one last time just how annoying winter really can be, but at the same time generates a little nostalgia as you realize it’s most likely the last time you’ll see the beauty of snow-covered trees in the sunshine for quite a while before melting away virtually the next day.
OK, I am banking on it really being the last snowfall of this winter, as I’m ready for warmer temperatures and the upcoming concert “season.”
Not that long ago I was lamenting the fact that it seemed like there was a distinct lack of appealing shows to look forward to in the coming months. Wow, what a huge turnaround.
How about Paul Weller at the Union Transfer on June 10? Or The Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson at the Sellersville Theater on May 28? Maybe Noel Gallagher at the Merriam Theater on June 3? There’s even a chance to see The Who and the Rolling Stones in a matter of weeks, with The Who playing dates in Philadelphia and Atlantic City in May and an announcement about a Rolling Stones’ summer stadium show happening any time now.
But of all the great shows on sale or about to be officially announced, the one that has me the most intrigued is the final date of The Replacements’ U.S. tour on May 9 at the Festival Pier in Philadelphia.
The Replacements are one of those bands I always managed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when they seemed to be constantly appearing at the old Chestnut Cabaret in the mid ’80s. Yeah, I know their shows were a roughly inconsistent mix of alcohol-fueled covers and wildly varying levels of performance, but if you were around at that time, were in your 20s and loved music, you loved the Replacements. They were also one of those bands I never expected would ever reunite in any form.
Seeing Replacements’ co-founder and vocalist Paul Westerberg in the years after the band’s demise was always plenty of fun, and Westerberg’s solo material is nothing short of genius. Still, I always wondered what it’d have been like to “have been there when…”
Yeah, I know it’s 2015 and not 1985 and yes, I’m aware this version is made up of original members Westerberg and the always entertaining Tommy Stinson, but come on, it’s the Replacements. Few bands could tap into what it was like to be a confused, sometimes directionless college student with no idea what was coming next in that era.
I’ve got plenty of faith that Westerberg — even with his tongue-in-cheek comments about this reunion tour being about money — will deliver something fittingly memorable. Judging by the reunion shows of the past couple years, that is exactly what’s been happening. The trip to that awful parking lot of a “venue” on May 9 will be worth it alone just to hopefully hear “Nightclub Jitters.”
Coinciding with the band’s month-long U.S. tour will be the release on April 16 on Rhino of an eight-disc set on Rhino covering the complete studio albums from 1981 to 1990. Seriously, though, you should already have them in your collection.
Never Say Never Again…: Speaking of unexpected “reunions,” did anyone seeing a new album by the underrated Britpop pioneering band Blur coming after a 12-year absence? Yes, they’d also done some reunion shows in recent times, but all involved downplayed any real hopes of a full-blown album.
Featuring the band’s full lineup and set for release on April 28, “The Magic Whip” was recorded throughout five days in Hong Kong after the cancellation of their tour of Japan in 2013.
Ken Kolasinski is a frequent Ticket contributor.