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Band accidentally leaves drummer at ND Walmart in pajamas while on way to St. Paul for concert

Scottish indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian. (Courtesy of Matador Records)

ST. PAUL -- Scottish indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian was booked to play St. Paul’s ­Palace Theatre on Tuesday night. But the show almost didn’t happen.

At 10:23 a.m., lead singer Stuart Murdoch tweeted: “S---, we left Richard in North Dakota. Anyone want to be a hero and get him to St Paul, Minnesota, somehow. The gig hangs in the balance.”

That would be Richard Colburn, Belle and Sebastian’s drummer since 1996.

Murdoch explained what happened during an interview with DJ Mary Lucia that aired on 89.3 The Current several hours before showtime. In the early morning, the band’s bus made a pit stop at a Walmart in Dickinson, N.D. Six of the seven musicians made their way on to the bus and promptly went back to sleep. No one realized they had left Colburn behind until hours later.

As for Colburn, he was wearing pajamas and had left his phone and passport on the bus.

“He had a credit card, but he still sat in Walmart for four hours,” Murdoch said. “He was thinking we were going to notice.”

Murdoch added that, in the past, they had a system that ensured everyone was back on the bus before it left, but that they had abandoned it after mobile phones became common.

After a series of frantic calls, the band’s management got Colburn a taxi to the airport in Bismarck, where he was able to fly to the Twin Cities, even without an ID. He wasn’t in town yet when Murdoch recorded the interview with the Current, but was expected to be back with the band in time for the show.

Murdoch’s early plea sent fans to social media, some to try to help and others to ­make jokes.

“I left my heart in San Francisco, and my drummer in North Dakota” wrote Twitter user Jamie Campbell.

On Facebook, Erik Mathison lamented “Charge the tour manager! Rule #1 of tour manager’s job: don’t leave anyone behind.” Also on Facebook, Transmission DJ Jake Rudh summed up his feelings with a GIF of Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson in the film “Fargo” with the caption: “For Pete’s sake.”

By the time Ellen Shafer, a publicist in Fargo, N.D., had actually found a volunteer to drive Colburn, Murdoch had tweeted again with the update “we’re getting him in a car to Bismarck, a flight to Minneapolis. We should be ok for tonight.”

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