Over the course of their recent reunion tour, the Replacements have been working up a cover of the Jackson 5’s 1969 hit “I Want You Back.” As the band played their first New York show in 23 years on Friday night, they showed the progress they’ve made on it. Although their version of the song lasts just over a minute and isn’t exactly polished, frontman Paul Westerberg declared to the audience that the band members were proud of themselves for having learned the riff, according to Brooklyn Vegan.
Along with the Jacksons and a whirlwind cover of Chick Berry’s “Maybellene,” there were, of course, plenty of Replacements classics in the 29-song set at Queens’ Forest Hills Stadium, including “Take Me Down to the Hospital,” “Bastards of Young,” “Can’t Hardly Wait” (see below) and “Alex Chilton.”
The Replacements reunion tour, featuring original members Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson accompanied by guitarist Dave Minehan and drummer Josh Freese, launched in August 2013 after a 22-year hiatus. In an interview with Rolling Stone nearly a year before the reunion took shape, Westerberg spoke about the potential motivations. “It was never about making money,” he said. “If we can have a lot of fun, and make a lot of people happy, and make a lot of money – which means making a lot of other people money – then OK, I guess that’s spiritually and economically sound.”
The tour takes the Replacements to Tempe, Arizona for the Summer Ends Festival next weekend and then onto the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas in October.