Replacements end 22-year wait, play first reunion gig at Toronto's RiotFest

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Revered Minnesota rockers The Replacements finally reunited for their first gig in 22 years Sunday night at Sunday's RiotFest at Toronto's Fort York Grounds, the Star Tribune reports.

The Toronto gig was the first for the band since they quietly disappeared after a July 4, 1991 show.

The show featured original band members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, along with two former Westerberg sidemen. Star Tribune music critic Chris Riemenschneider says the show was "far from perfect," but his take on the band was generally positive.

The critic wrote that the first half-hour of the 75-minute set featured "snarly, punky, rapid-fire, way-oldie songs such as the opener 'Takin' a Ride' and 'I'm in Trouble,'" and 46-year-old bassist Stinson "displayed the enthusiasm he had at age 13." Here's the set list.

On the downside, Riemenschneider noted, Westerberg forgot lyrics during "Androgynous" and one of the band's biggest hits, "I Will Dare." The critic also noted that the band rambled through a cover of the Broadway standard "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and Westerberg admitted it was a "a song we don't really know."

The Current's Andrea Swensson found little if any fault in her review of the show, writing, "Like a decades-old bottle of champagne finally uncorked, the whole set had a celebratory, infectious, and downright giddy spirit to it that was most clearly illustrated in the giant smile spread across drummer Josh Freese's face."

The crowd certainly was loving it, Swensson added, saying she "got the overwhelming feeling everyone in the crowd around me was experiencing an intense, heightened sense of satisfaction."

Swensson said that Westerberg had an explanation for the band's two-decades-plus absence from the concert stage: "For 25 years we’ve been having a wardrobe debate. It was unresolved," he said.

For those who missed The Replacements -- or the 'Mats, as hardcore fans call them -- they'll play Chicago's RiotFest, which is set for in Chicago Sept. 13-15, and Denver's RiotFest. Sept. 21-22.

The band reunited last fall for a four-song EP called "Songs for Slim," which was made to benefit former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a major stroke in February 2012.

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