Most fans of The Replacements probably thought an opening slot for the Minneapolis band on anybody's tour would have been highly unlikely after 1989's Tom Petty debacle.
Singer Paul Westerberg was quite vocal about his and the band's displeasure with opening stints on the "Full Moon Fever" tour, and ardent fans seemed equally as disappointed by the shortened set. But, come Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, The Replacements will be warming up for Elvis Costello.
"I don't know whose idea it was but we do prefer" headlining, said guitarist Tommy Stinson. "Someone told me that Elvis actually asked for us. I guess someone was impressed by that. They thought it would be a neat little thing to do. It's only 10 shows so it's no big deal."
The band is winding up its tour in support of "All Shook Down," a six-month jaunt that stopped at Shriver Hall in late February. This is the first tour without drummer Chris Mars, who has been replaced by Steve Foley.
"Losing Chris was the best thing that could have happened," Stinson said. "Something needed to happen, and the change made it possible to do the tour. It just wasn't working out anymore."
As is always the case with this anarchy-led band, talk immediately surfaced after the release of the latest album and the change of personnel that this would be the last chance to see the band. But Westerberg never lets on what the future holds for the band and Stinson was just as evasive.
"The fourth of the July is the last date on the tour, and I just don't know past that," said Stinson.
The concert calendar . . .
Coming to the Capital Centre, Guns 'n' Roses and Skid Row (June 19 and 20), AC/DC and L.A. Guns (July 9) and Yes (July 20).
Merriweather also has Steve Winwood and Warren Zevon (June 19), Crystal Gayle and T.G. Sheppard (June 20).
The Grateful Dead and Dwight Yoakum appear at RFK Stadium in D.C. tomorrow.