Album: Live at Maxwell’s 1986
. . .
Nothing to fear, it’s only murder
I was lucky enough to see The Replacements five times during their original run. And never once did I see one of their infamous disintegration shows. I’m sure they were sloppy and fucked up, but they always seemed like the greatest band ever.
But, of course, during the 1980s, they only put out a pair of live recordings: The Shit Hits The Fans cassette, and the Inconcerated promo-only CD release. And while I admired the story behind the former and the performances of the latter, neither had what I was looking for in a Replacements live album.
And so, in the 1990s, I went bootleg-hunting, but never quite found anything that knocked me out from start to finish (though Shit, Shower and Shave, a document of one of their Petty shows, had some good stuff).
Which is why For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 was such a fucking miracle. I knew that it was the cleaned-up version of a bootleg that I’d downloaded and dismissed, but I wasn’t ready for just how powerful it truly was. Maybe in 2017 I was ready for it, having been primed by the reunion shows, and enough distance from the original albums.
Or maybe it was just this great and I missed it. Either way, some joke on me, because had Live At Maxwell’s come out in 1986, I might have never to buy another album ever again. 29 songs, no waiting. It was a dynamite showcase of their entire career to that point, including a blistering “Can’t Hardly Wait” and several covers.
Even better, most of the songs were actually finished, though it kills me that the two that weren’t were a cover of future Certain Song “Fox on the Run” and “Left of the Dial,” though every time I hear it, I think “this is the time they’re gonna finish it!!”
In any event, Live at Maxwell’s 1986 showed just how the Replacements truly were as a live band, and a perfect example is their version of “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out,” a song that has three separate gears: fast, faster and fastest. And all of which they nailed, plus the “murder” lyrical motif that Paul weaved into many of the earlier songs of the evening for…reasons, I guess.
And while it’s not as much fun as Paul screaming “MURDER” instead of “Hayday,” it’s actually kinda perfect in the context of the scary-ass surgery story.
Nothing to fear
It’s only murder
But the ‘Mats negotiate the twists and turns of “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” — Bob Stinson tossing in some extra licks for good measure — almost like trained professionals, without ever taking either fun or sloppiness off of the table.
“Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” Live at Maxwell’s 1986
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