I saw my favorite band The Replacements play live last night at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta. My wife and I made the 3.5 hour trek from North Alabama, another hour on MARTA trains and buses, and then stood in the pouring rain for 45 minutes before the show started. All this for a band I thought would never play again, in fact, they were the only act we stayed for. The set was a few minutes late because of technical difficulties, but by the time it started, I was not disappointed.
They rattled off 20 or so songs in their short 75 minute set, hitting all the high points along their short life as a band. I heard deep cuts, B-sides, covers, and fan favorites, a rocking set. The crowd, old and young, roared with each turn. Rock and roll is still alive, and stronger than ever. The world needs more of The Replacements.
I shed a tear.
I almost cried.
I had goosebumps as each song started, songs I never imagined hearing live were now being played in front of me. I cheered and sang along with everyone else, a few thousand folks I'd never met who were now my friends. From another stage, Conor Oberst summed it up as his set ended -- he said he was getting to see a dream come true, he was going to watch The Replacements live for the very first time.
The cell phone photos stink, but the memories will remain forever.