Paul Westerberg
Great American Music Hall
February 22, 2005

Review by Jake Thomas

Was this Paul Westerberg’s first appearance here in SF since the infamous heckling incident at Virgin Records a few years back? I could be wrong, but I think it is. I know he didn’t want to come back here after that, but time heals all wounds as they say. Plus touring here means he makes money, cause he knows he has fans a-plenty in this neck of the woods.

Unlike the Virgin solo-acoustic event, this was a full band affair, and mostly electric. And it was pretty damn awesome at that. It was real packed, and I was trapped near some terribly chatty folks which slightly killed my buzz, but hearing “Skyway” or “I’ll Be You” or “On the Bus” will make you forget whatever petty crap is happening around you. He sounded great, the band was pretty tight except for a couple of drunken mishaps, and other than a couple of talkative assholes everyone seemed real into it. It’s not that often that I go to a show and feel young, but I did here – most of these folks looked as if they hadn’t been to a show since the Replacements toured for “Pleased to Meet Me”, and they were making the most of their time away from the kids and the normal wear and tear of life. The set was pretty evenly mixed with solo songs and Replacements songs, all sounded great. In true encore fashion, they saved the best for last – playing “Left of the Dial” and bleeding it right into “Alex Chilton”…no “Bastards of Young”, but almost as good. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t wait a zillion years before coming back again.