concert memoirs pt. 6 – the replacements

The Replacements w/The Slickee Boys
9/5/84 First Avenue w/John Ticket Price: $2.50

This is a big one. This was the first time John and I stepped foot in the legendary Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue. The month before my friend Paul and I attempted to get in to see The Suburbs. It was sold out, so my first time would have to wait.

How to describe the first time taking in this institution? It was very big, very dank, very dark, and very cool. We’d heard stories about the place. Heard that it had a weird crowd. That men would hit on us.

The crowd wasn’t that weird. Some punks, new wavers, goths, club chicks, but mostly just pretty ordinary-looking people. That is one of the best things about First Avenue, there’s no one sort of crowd. A variety of folks would show up and a good percentage were ok. And I don’t remember any men hitting on us.

First Avenue would soon become the best place for us to see concerts. You will notice that as this series continues that the vast majority of the shows we saw we saw at First Avenue. You can get a good view of the bands and the sound was very good. And First Avenue was always booking excellent acts in those days. Things have changed since then, First Avenue has more competition now and the scene is different.

We sat against the wall along the 7th St. Entry side of the club (That seating area is gone now and has been for years.) for the opening act, The Slickee Boys. I never heard of them before. Their set was pretty brash and loud, but not otherwise memorable.

The Slickee Boys finished up, the big screen lowered, and everyone began to prepare for the critics’ darlings, The Replacements. John and I joined the crowd in front of the stage. Our anticipation was building when…

John had a little freak out.

Maybe it was the fact that he smoked too many cigarettes, maybe it was the growing crowd, maybe it was the bigness of the moment. I don’t know. But John needed space. He felt like he was about to pass out. So, we moved off to the side of the stage where he could get some air.

This was very unusual for John. In fact, I was the one with the history of panic attacks.

The Replacements took the stage. They played. I don’t remember much.

I know what you might be thinking. You might be thinking that I was drunk and that’s why the details about many of these shows are so fuzzy or missing. That is not the case. I didn’t do much drinking at First Avenue ever. That was the place that I went to to see bands and to dance. My heavy drinking was done elsewhere.

Now, The Replacements, on the other hand, were quite often drunk during their sets. However, as I said, I don’t have much else to tell.

I think Bob Stinson wore a dress.

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