Paul Westerberg was visibly annoyed at Coachella
Paul Westerberg wasn't exactly thrilled to be in the Southern California desert last night. "Headed out to San Francisco, definitely not L.A.," he once sang. During his latest reunion show with The Replacements - at Coachella - he often mocked the audience, whom he quickly deemed insufficiently familiar with the band's catalog.
At one point he looked out over the crowd, asking for a "girl who has never used the word awesome," which seemed to be a dig at San Fernando Valley ladies, based a couple of hours West, who largely populated the premises.
So yeah, he was crotchety. But dammit if he didn't get away with it.
The band's material stretched from their first album, but it was immediately clear this was not a 'Mats show from the old days. They appeared right on time, with Westerberg in a bow tie and formal suit, albeit one that may have been a rental, since the tags were still on.
He slid across the stage and (from his sleeve, it appeared) produced a bouquet of cheap flowers, like a magician. Chroeography? Yeah, sort of, but mostly the performance, also featuring original bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Josh Freese, and Dave Minehan on guitar, was just really tight.
Timothy Norris Tommy Stinson
Except, of course, for the parts when Westerberg simply abandoned the song lyrics all together, as he did during much of "Androgynous." When his lyrics first dropped out he seemed upset that the crowd wasn't doing a better job of picking up the ball and running with it, and then he just seemed to want to punish us. Not unlike Andre 3000 on the main stage later that night, his body language often seemed a mixture of "too cool for school" and "fuck y'all." After asking the crowd if they wanted to hear "Achin' to Be," he clearly found the response too tepid, and visibly recoiled.
"Would you rather hear 'Psychopharmacolgy' or 'I'll Be You'?" Westerberg asked later. The crowd, naturally, cheered for the latter Don't Tell a Soul classic, rather than the obscure Grandpaboy track, to which he responded: "Bastards." But he did manage to sing almost all of "I'll Be You," which even inspired some crowd surfing. And then they played "Psychopharmacolgy" anyway.