Local Current Blog

The Replacements return to NBC Studios to play the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg jamming in the greenroom of the Tonight Show (Photo via the Replacements on Facebook)

It’s been a banner year for Minnesota musicians on late-night television, with both Trampled by Turtles and Jeremy Messersmith performing on The Late Show with David Letterman in recent months and the Replacements making their triumphant return to NBC Studios to perform on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday night’s appearance on the show marked the first time that co-founders Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson performed as the Replacements since performing sloppy renditions of “Bastards of Young” and “Kiss Me on the Bus” on Saturday Night Live in January 1986 and subsequently getting banned from the show. (Westerberg did manage to return to SNL seven years later to play a solo set.) To add to the excitement, it was announced that one of the other guests on the Mats’ episode of The Tonight Show would be none other than Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

The Tonight Show appearance was clearly just as big of a deal for the band and the producers of the show as it was for the fans back home who are gearing up to see them play the sold-out Midway Stadium show on Saturday night. Starting in the afternoon on Tuesday, photos and updates started coming fast and furious from the Replacements’ accounts, the Roots’ ?uestlove, Fallon’s music booker Jonathan Cohen, and our own Mary Lucia, who was able to attend the taping.

Here’s Mary Lucia’s account of the show, as told over the phone after the taping:

“I went with my childhood friend, who lived next door to us in our old neighborhood,” she says. “They ended up taping at 4:30 or 5:00. The audience, I would say, was about 200 people at the most, and the guests were Debra Messing and Britney Spears. And Britney Spears—girl can do a fast change. She comes on in a red plunging evening gown and does the ‘Top 5 reasons why Britney Spears should be dating on Tinder,’ and she looks really nervous through the whole thing. They whipped her out of that gown and into a pair of shorts and Uggs in two minutes. She was in her street clothes and out the door. She must be friends with Fallon. So she just whisked in and out immediately.”

“And then Keith is the first guest, and he talks about his book, which was inspired by being a grandfather. And his granddaughter was in the audience doing a live sketching of Jimmy and Keith while the show was going on. So Keith takes up two segments, which was sort of surprising, but I guess not really because you could tell Jimmy was clearly a fan.”

“Then Debra Messing came out, she’s got a new show or something, she was only on one segment. And then the Replacements came out! They had a little more time to warm up and get ready, and we got to stand in the back. They played ‘Alex Chilton,’ and Paul changed a little bit of the lyrics and stuff, like ‘I could die in NYC.’ And because Keith went kind of long, it kind of eked into the Replacements’ second song. So what happened is the ended up telling us they were going to use footage from the dress rehearsal to put online, but we were all pretty bummed because we were all expecting two songs. But what are you going to do, yell at Keith Richards?”

“I was trying so hard to take a picture of Keith, and this guy literally flashes this book in front of his face the second that I took the picture. They were just hardcore about cameras.”

“Keith had a little moment with Tommy and had a moment with Paul and Johnny, Paul’s son. It was really cute. We were laughing, because I was asking Johnny in the car earlier if he was a Stones fan, and we were saying, ‘What would this be the equivalent of? If my parents took me to see Buddy Holly?’ You could tell that Paul was kind of nervous [to see Keith], to be honest, because I don’t think they have a friendship or whatever. They’ve played together and they’ve met before, but by no means a friendship. It was cute, someone was definitely trying to make sure, ‘hey Paul this is Keith. Keith this is Paul.'”

Here are more of Mary’s photos:

Here’s a roundup of some of the other photos and teasers to emerge online on Tuesday:

The 2014 Replacements (David Minehan, Tommy Stinson, Paul Westerberg, and Josh Freese) with Keith Richards:

Keef and the Mats in the hallway after @fallontonight. I am a very happy and lucky fellow.

Tommy Stinson with Keith Richards and Tommy’s daughter, Ruby:

The Replacements sound-checking on set:

The Replacements sound checking in Studio 6B right now! Tonight will be their first NBC performance in 28 years. #FallonTonight

?uestlove with Tommy Stinson:

Friggin Tommy Stinson! #TheReplacements return to NBC!!!!! #NewEra! #Legends #FallonTonight

Tonight Show music booker Jonathan Cohen with Tommy Stinson:

The cards say it all. Thank you, Paul and Tommy.

A view of the Replacements and Keith Richards from behind:

Diane Richards, Paul Westerberg, and Mary Lucia backstage at the Tonight Show:

  • Heidi Hermes

    Never thought I’d see the day. Thanks for the back stage report. See y’all on Saturday!

  • Cindy Bailen

    Best ‘Mats week ever here, seeing them play in Boston and two days later, on the Tonight show. Looch, thanks for reporting from the scene. This is pure gold!

    • Dave Roe

      Yes! I flew up from Atlanta to catch the Boston Calling set!

      • Cindy Bailen

        N.Y. show should be awesome plus, Deertick and the Hold Steady opening.

  • tkapo

    I love that Mary is acknowledging her relationship with Paul.

    • Spiff

      I didn’t catch that. Was it the bit about being with Paul’s son Johnny in the car? If so, what does that really reveal?

  • Brett

    NIce pix! Thanks, Mary & Co. – love that last one with Paul’s arm around his sis …
    Really building to Saturday … I’m bringing my son & daughter to introduce them to the Mats!

  • Awesome.

  • John Isakson

    Did I see Paul get on all fours behind Fallon like Tommy should push him over at the end of Alex Chilton?

  • Matt

    This was really cool. Thanks for sharing this with us. Really awesome.