THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Hold Steady had a pretty incredible re-entry into real live shows in November 2021. A huge thanks is due to First Avenue for hosting us and to everyone who came out to the shows. We couldn’t have imagined it any better.
Not sure we could have scripted a better place to return than the First Avenue main room, site of a bunch of great THS shows in the past but none since 2012. This show was originally scheduled for the club’s 50th anniversary in May 2020 but … things got in the way. Still, there was a celebratory vibe in the place even at soundcheck. We got to see Conrad, the legendary club stage manager and a few other old old friends. The sense of anticipation was palpable. The club filled up and we got treated to awesome opening sets by locals Kiss The Tiger and Gully Boys. We took the stage to Barry Manilow’s Looks Like We Made It, the curtain rose and Tad hit the opening riff from Constructive Summer … we’re back. The audience was amazing, great energy, singing and dancing. We played a few songs off our 2021 record Open Door Policy and we were joined on a bunch of songs by the Twin Cities outpost of Horn Steady (thanks Nelson & Jake!). Such a great return to the stage and we got to do it two more times the next day.
The double header in the Entry is a throwback to the classic shows of the ’80s, where bands would play a 4 p.m. all-ages show and a 9 p.m. 21+ show. It always feels like the correct way to do the Entry, if possible. The room filled up in the afternoon to the sounds of our friend Bruce McGuire’s DJ set. We opened up with Positive Jam and it was a positive jam indeed. We played a few “new” songs too, I think it might have been the first version of Spices in front of a live audience. The crowd was great, crowded in but really friendly and fun. One down, one more to go.
Predictably, the evening show was a little bit wilder, but still a very respectful audience, and a great way to finish up the weekend. Our old pal Lori Barbero played jams from her amazing record collection as the people came in. We opened with Hornets, a local reference obviously. The set took off from there. It featured the live debut of Unpleasant Breakfast and got a chorus of “WOOOs” which was pretty hilarious. We also broke out Parade Days for the first time in the encore. Someone threw out a bunch of piano key ties during T-Shirt Tux, which was pretty awesome. Confetti flew too. We brought it home with Killer Parties and it was, of course, a killer party.
A huge thanks to Minneapolis/St.Paul for being a spiritual home to the band, First Avenue & 7th St Entry for the being the best rock club in the world, and to everyone who came from near and far to celebrate our return. It was an absolute joy.”