Reviews \

Paul Westerberg Returns Home with MGD

MINNEAPOLIS: The prolific singer/songwriter ruminates about rock and the 'Mats.

“Oh Paul Westerberg, what makes you tick?” This was the one question on the minds of hundreds of die-hard Westerberg fans that flocked to see the inimitable songwriter field questions for Miller Genuine Draft’s concert series, the Craft. Fans at First Avenue last night (Sept. 23) were rewarded by a completely candid Westerberg, who tackled questions about everything from his mental health ( “I am somewhere between schizophrenic and totally healthy”) to his favorite method of songwriting (“I shout at the top of my lungs, usually in the bathroom”).

Decked in a silvery vest, slacks, and purple-tinted glasses, Westerberg appeared relaxed, but was his usual sarcastic self, yet also very funny. While he didn’t treat the packed audience to many old ‘Mats songs, Westerberg delivered “Make the Best of Me,” a song that he dryly noted was never recorded due to the band’s insistence that it was “too spiritual.” A new tune, “Everyone’s Stupid” showcased a sadly sweet story told from the perspective of a friend of his son’s concerning the boy’s parents’ divorce.

If there were ever any doubts whether Westerberg still carries that wry tender heart, they were laid to rest with a fiery rendition of “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Though he gruffly insisted that “the song sucks,” there was no denying the pride evidenced in his voice when he sang. With eyes twinkling through those purple shades, Westerberg appeared to be in on an inside joke. Whatever it was, he was good enough to share a bit of it last evening — a God reaching out a single finger to the masses, while we mortals strained to reach and grasp at what we inherently cannot. Knowing Paul Westerberg, it was doubtlessly the middle finger.

We asked: Fill in the blank: Paul Westerberg makes me want to _____.