February 10, 2011 – 4:06 am

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Putting On The Ritz [Punk Vault, 1CD]

Live at the Ritz Theater, New York City; July 27, 1987. Very good soundboard.

Those who are lucky enough can relive their teenage angst with their Replacements bootlegs. And there can’t be many of you folks otherwise Paul Westerberg wouldn’t be thinking how nice it’d be if he’d sold a million or two more copies of his albums.

Then again, and it is probably an accepted fact by now, no one collects Replacement boots for their sonic quality or for Westerberg’s crystal clear voicings. Even with his distinctive raspy voice, he can slur as well as your Dylans and Springsteens.

That none of that is available on this bootleg doesn’t mean that Putting On The Ritz is a complete throwaway. By 1987, The Replacements not only already had a reputation as a great band, they had already released three of their best albums - Let it Be (1984), Tim (1985), and Pleased to Meet Me (1987).

However, Replacements boots that have been relatively easy to track down feature shows from 1984 (the well-known Inconcerated that surfaced on cassette and on Australia’s Black Cat label), 1989 (Goodbye Bozos and S***, Shower and Shave), and 1991 (Hangin’ It Up - which duplicated in better quality Disc 2 of Goodbye Bozos). For the collector then, Putting On The Ritz helps to fill a gap in the live history of the band.

For all the tales of drunkenness and wild playing that plagued the band’s early years, the group seemed pretty sober here. The band is pretty tight - probably helped in no small measure that a good number of songs generally appear on their live set - classic tunes like “Little Mascara,” “Swinging Party,” “The Ledge,” “Kiss Me on the Bus,” and “Hold My Life.”

Contrary to common belief, the band seemed very focused in its performance - one hardly detects a sense of fun or mischief even. Even a riotous affair such as “Tommy Gets his Tonsils Out” is played straight and “Takin’ a Ride,” the set closer, which should have brought the house down, sounds like a cramped version of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.”

But when they did cut loose, as on the honky tonkin’ “Sweet Home Chicago,” and especially on “Go,” they could get you where it hurt.

On tour to promote Please to Meet Me, they also manages to throw in a couple of real oldies, “Lovelines” and “Within Your Reach” from Hootenanny, the throat wrenching “Go” from Stink, and “Takin’ a Ride” from Take Out the Trash. And it would be some time before tunes like “Within Your Reach” were aired again.

Listening to the tracks, one senses an attempt by The Mats to present a complete show - the mix and match between old and new songs generally works with a fine balance between fast, slow, and bluesy material. The latter with songs like “Lovelines” and “Nightclub Jitters” really show how adept the band was at playing the barroom circuit.

At the end of the day, this isn’t the rip-roaring set that helped to cement the legend of The Replacements. It is notable more for the songs that generally don’t appear on other boots, like the much sought-after “If Only I was Lonely” than for the so-called standards. Fans can take pride in knowing that “Another Girl, Another Planet” was being played back as far as 1987. - Stephen Tan (August 1998 issue of Live! Music Review)

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. I.O.U. (4.7MB)
Track 02. Nevermind (4.4MB)
Track 03. Hold My Life (7.8MB)
Track 04. I Will Dare (6.3MB)
Track 05. Lovelines (4.4MB)
Track 06. Can’t Hardly Wait (4.9MB)
Track 07. Little Mascara (5.7MB)
Track 08. Swingin’ Party (6.1MB)
Track 09. Bastards of Young (5.8MB)
Track 10. Within Your Reach (6.8MB)
Track 11. The Ledge (6.5MB)
Track 12. Waitress In The Sky (3.3MB)
Track 13. Sweet Home Chicago (3.3MB)
Track 14. Favorite Thing (4.2MB)
Track 15. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out (2.7MB)
Track 16. Unsatisfied (6.3MB)
Track 17. Go (4.8MB)
Track 18. Nightclub Jitters (4.6MB)
Track 19. California Sun (4.4MB)
Track 20. Another Girl, Another Planet (5.0MB)
Track 21. Kiss Me On The Bus (5.3MB)
Track 22. Skyway (3.5MB)
Track 23. If Only You Were Lonely (4.5MB)
Track 24. Color Me Impressed (4.2MB)
Track 25. Takin’ A Ride (4.5MB)

Paul Westerberg - guitar, vocals
Tommy Stinson - bass
Chris Mars - drums
Slim Dunlap - guitar

Click here for an interview with Slim Dunlap.

Click on the link to order Replacements albums.

  1. 11 Responses to “THE REPLACEMENTS - NEW YORK 1987”

  2. While attending this show with my then-fiance, now wife of almost 23 years, I observed a couple of other guys trying to snort some china white off a shirt cuff during “Waitress In The Sky”. They were having a lot of trouble making the lines stay straight on the cuff due to the cramped space inherent with the sold-out show. Being from the Chicago area, I was very excited to hear the Mats rip into “Sweet Home Chicago” and let out a huge shout and jumped up in the air. The next thing I knew, there was a white cloud above my head caused by the guy with the blow on his cuff throwing it skyward in reaction to my scream. Soon after, he and his buds left the floor. My wife assumes they went to the john to properly snort up. Anyway, my kids (20 & 15 now) love hearing this story and are often dismayed when this doesn’t happen to them at shows they attend. My wife and I love the Mats and so do my kids, even without the story. I believe their music and influence will last forever. Thanks so much for the post. I can’t wait to play it for my youngest tonight.

    By Johnny Kinkdom on Feb 10, 2011

  3. Nice! This is the kind of stuff I come here for. Thanks!

    By Trav on Feb 10, 2011

  4. Great Stuff. BigO ROCKS!!

    By TDC on Feb 10, 2011

  5. @JK - that was u? Thanks alot, buddy. That was $17 worth of blow you made me waste. ; )

    By Orlando Bobert on Feb 10, 2011

  6. This is great.
    Love The Ledge

    By Russ on Feb 10, 2011

  7. I rarely listen to these guys anymore. I don’t think their LPs have aged real well. But that said, I’m enjoying listening to this. Thanks for the post.

    By Dave C. on Feb 11, 2011

  8. I’ve heard of them but I never heard their music. I decided to try this one. Very good from what I hear. Thanks for the heads up BigO.

    By Matt on Feb 15, 2011

  9. Wow, this really brings back memories. I was at this show and if I remember correctly they played again the next night and Paul fell off the stage and hurt himself. Thanks.

    By Bee on Feb 17, 2011

  10. Very good session.

    By zak on Oct 21, 2014

  11. I was at this show and the roof was about to come off the place. It was epic. Only days before I seem to remember a rather off night for the Mats and they certainly redeemed themselves.

    By Candyear on Feb 6, 2015

  12. I was not at this show.

    By J&MC on Sep 2, 2015

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