The Replacements: For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986

Long thought lost to time, this live recording captures the Replacements at their peak. Their ragged, soused live show-once a thing of anecdotal legend-is presented in its fullest form, warts and all.

If legend and half-remembered first-hand accounts are to be believed, going to see the Replacements in their heyday was something of a gamble. Either you got a blistering set from one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands ever to traverse the United States, or you got a shambling mess of a performance replete with tongue-in-cheek covers of country standards and glam-rock also-rans. (The band's alcohol intake prior to hitting the stage was the primary determining factor as to which version of the band you got.)

The Replacements

For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986

Label: Warner Bros.
US Release Date: 2017-10-06
UK Release Date: 2017-10-06

For Sale: Live At Maxwell's 1986 offers both sides of that dangerous coin for audience who either never got to experience the chaos of the Replacements in person or for those who are willing to relive what had to be a frenetic night of booze and rock. This is the Replacements at their finest and their most frustrating.

The mere existence of a live Replacements record conjures thoughts of the dingiest, worst-sounding bootleg tape you'd have ever heard in your life, but For Sale is not that. The show, recorded at the famed Hoboken club Maxwell's around the time of the band's infamous Saturday Night Live performance, was recorded with the intention of releasing a live album alongside the brilliant Tim. However, the chaos surrounding the band that year -- which culminated in the departure of guitarist Bob Stinson -- meant that the recordings were lost to time, forgotten by the time the band went to record Pleased to Meet Me later that year. Seymour Stein pushed for the live Replacements album, hoping that capturing the band's frenetic live energy would make them even more of a sensation. The veracity of that statement is irrelevant, yet another line of “woulda, coulda, shoulda's" in the Replacements history, but For Sale definitely captures that aspect of the band's storied past, for better and for worse.

If the Replacements knew that they were being recorded for an album, they certainly gave no indication of that. For Sale is defiantly off-the-cuff in its approach. The band don't even bother to introduce themselves, choosing instead to launch right into a few of the more rocking songs in their catalog (“Hayday", “Color Me Impressed", and “Dose of Thunder") before Westerberg uses a tuning break to lead the rest of the band into an impromptu cover of the Sweet's “Fox on the Run". The rest of the show is filled with stop-start improvisation, with Westerberg prematurely ending “Left of the Dial" before its blissful coda to jump into “God Damn Job".

Yet, even as the band are less than concentrated on their performance, they're still capable of moments of absolute transcendence. Early in the set, the band deliver the one-two punch of “Unsatisfied" and “Can't Hardly Wait", and they more than do each song justice. (“Wait" was still in the early stages of completion here, but the more guitar-heavy rendition might appeal to a certain strand of Mats fan.) They give “Answering Machine" even more of a dramatic sweep with a full-band rendition that is somehow even more of a gut-punch than the original. And, though their Sweet cover leaves a bit to be desired, they more than do justice with T. Rex's “Baby Strange" and the Beatles' “Nowhere Man". (Kiss' “Black Diamond" is also here, but anyone with a copy of Let It Be knows that they spun crap into gold with that one.) While the band ended the set abruptly with the short and snotty “Fuck School", their innate skill as live performers often overcomes their need to not give a shit.

While the live performances are only a part of the Replacements legend, they're a crucial one that we sadly might never see again. When the band briefly reunited in 2013-2014, they were as tight and as enjoyable as ever, but that devious nature and mischievous spirit seemed lost to time. It's likely that Seymour Stein's prediction was incorrect and that For Sale would have turned off mainstream audiences had it been released in 1986. However, for those of us now who recognize the Replacements as the messy, brilliant rock band that they were, this album provides an even more complete portrait.







A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Prof. Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.