Album: Live at Maxwell’s 1986
. . .
I already used eight of my lives
Paul Westerberg is one hell of a rock ‘n’ roll singer. I might have mentioned that once or twice in these posts.
And while I was and am thrilled that For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 gave me fantastic performances of such major songs as “Hold My Life,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Unsatisfied” and “Answering Machine” (at least after the full band kicks in), the song that utterly killed me was the scorching, blistering take of “Take Me Down To The Hospital.”
On Hootenanny, “Take Me Down To The Hospital” is a fun, funny fast blues shuffle, alternating between intensity and lost focus, like they’re going in and out of consciousness. Which kinda makes sense as, “Take Me Down To The Hospital” is based upon a true story of Paul almost ODing on some pharmaceutical grade speed. But live, it’s pure punk rock, like that speed kicked in just before they started playing.
Bob Stinson, in particular is pure fire, as he alternates between the three-note hook and utter shredding, while Chris Mars handles the transitions from the verses to the choruses with monster drum rolls while Tommy somehow holds it all together with his bass.
Meanwhile Paul conveys pure and utter fear and desperation on the verses asking “where does it hurt?” screaming in pain and worrying that he’s already used up eight of his lives. He even finds time to do a solo. But it’s the choruses where “Take Me To The Hospital” utterly rules. Recast as a call-and-response, with Tommy doing the response, it’s pure adrenaline.
Take me to
Take me down to the
Take me to
Take me toooooooo
And while each and every one of Tommy’s shouts of “HOS-PI-TALLLL!!! are a pure delight, the most awesomest thing that at least once in every single chorus, Paul slips into a falsetto on “tooooo-oooo”<./em> And it fucking kills me every single time. Because it’s clearly a choice, probably something he accidentally did one night and thought was kinda cool. And he was right. It’s the tiniest detail, but it’s exactly why I love this version of this song so much.
“Take Me Down To The Hospital (Maxwell’s 1986)