Hudson's Fall Minneapolis Tour, Part 2: Rock For Karl Benefit

Two nights ago, I made my way to the second of five trips to Minneapolis in a five week period. Two weeks ago, it was the Twins ill-fated attempts to overtake the Yankees in the divisional playoffs. For this trip, my friend Traci and I made our way to the Quest (formerly Prince's Glam Slam) for an all-star benefit for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller, who is battling throat cancer.

Unlike my other trips (besides the Twins, I have Wilco, Paul Westerberg and the Pixies in the next few weeks), we opted for the old drive-up/drive-back method. Twenty years ago this was a pretty typical occurrence. Of course, my body was much better-equipped for long days and late nights.

We left town at 10:30. The drive was relatively uneventful but the conversation flowed easily. We hit downtown Minneapolis around 2:30 and parked a few blocks away from the Quest. Traci had never been to Brit's, so we had lunch and a drink (or three) before starting our walk to the bar. We made a detour at Let it Be Records, and I must say that I was proud of myself for not spending any money. But I had spent plenty of cash on my last visit to town two weeks ago.

There was a bit of a line outside the Quest, but it was only fifteen minutes or so before they started letting us in. We immediately wandered upstairs and positioned ourselves directly opposite the stage. Around 6:30, Sarah Guthrie and her husband came onstage for a short set. Guthrie is the granddaughter of Woody Guthrie and the daughter of Arlo. Her set was pleasant, but not real exciting. Marc Perlman of the Jayhawks came onstage for a couple of songs (I guess he's on their upcoming record which was produced by Gary Louris and Polara's Ed Ackerman).

Around 7:00 came the first of many highlights. God, aka Paul Westerberg, rambled onstage. Holding up his "postage-sized setlist", his short set included tracks from most of his solo albums ("First Glimmer", "What a Day (For a Night)", "Lookin' Up in Heaven") along with two 'mats tunes ("I Will Dare" and "Swingin' Party") and a surprise cover of Elvis Presley's "Kentucky Rain". It was beyond great, but I needed more. I guess I'll have to wait two weeks until his shows at the Pentages.

Soul Asylum was up next. It's been some time since I saw these guys, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. They played a bunch of new songs that sounded better than anything off their past couple of albums. Mueller, who has reportedly fully recovered, seemed awed by the response from not only the crowd but the other musicians that were on the bill. "Even if it wasn't for me, I'd be here," he said before the set's finale, "Somebody to Shove".

Next up was Bob Mould. Again, I hadn't seen Mould since the final Husker Du tour. Onstage with just his electric, Mould also mixed brand new unreleased tunes with a few of his classics. Suddenly, there was another guitarist onstage. At first, I thought it was Husker Du bassist Greg Norton, but it turned out to be drummer Grant Hart. Hart and Mould have reportedly not spoken since Husker Du's split, so this was a great surprise as they ran through "Hardly Getting Over It"and "Never Talking to You Again".

At this point, the effects of the long day were starting to appear. There was a lengthy delay, and the crowd around us was beginning to feel overwhelming. I was also a little frustrated that the video capture feature of my digital camera would not allow for zoom, but I was taking a ton of pictures. The schedule said that the Gear Daddies were up next, but it didn't look like Martin Zellar and crew. For one thing, there was a female drummer.

When the music started, it certainly wasn't the Gear Daddies. Who the hell was singing? Traci started yelling, "it's Paul". It was...well, actually it was Grandpaboy singing the Stones' "Dead Flowers" with Golden Smog. Think about was members of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, and the Jayhawks playing together for the first time ever. It was a late 90's Minneapolis music fan's dream.

Unfortunately, Paul was off the stage after that one song. Golden Smog was also missing Gary Louris and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, but it was hardly noticeable. Besides a great version of the Kink's "Sunny Afternoon", the band ripped through an hour's worth of GS favorites. Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate also made a surprise appearance towards the end of the set.

At this point, we decided to take off. The Gear Daddies were due up next, and we had no desire to see them play those same songs they've lived off of for the past fifteen years. We searched all over town for a coffee shop and hit the road. An hour into the drive we ran into a deep, deep fog that made the drive close to unbearable. But it probably also kept us awake. We limped into Sioux Fall around 3:30, and five hours later I was at my desk trying to stay awake...but I don't regret a minute of it.

The Tribune says $50,000 was raised towards Mueller's $80,000 medical bill. $3500 was collected for a guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.


Anonymous said…
that was a fucking amazing show...has anybody found any recordings yet?

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