Just two days after this article was published, Joe Perry announced via Faceboook and Twitter, that Aerosmith is in the early stages of planning a World Tour, to get underway next summer. He confirmed it would include Europe, as well as Australia and South America. Now read on and enjoy the article! **
The first time I saw any members of Aerosmith take to the stage, it almost went very badly wrong for me.
If Steven Tyler and Joe Perry had appeared thirty seconds earlier things could have become rather tricky.
As it was, my friend and I had just finished testing out the viability of the bushes at the back of Milton Keynes Bowl as a temporary rest room, when Jon Bon Jovi announced to the crowd he was bringing on stage two ‘living legends’.
My pal – let’s call him Andy – and I had fortunately finished our ablutions, so started to run back to our position in the crowd as a massive cheer erupted: the Toxic Twins appeared and teamed up with the New Jersey boys for a frankly astounding rendition of Walk This Way.
It was August 1989. I had thought that the first time I would get to see any of Aerosmith live would be in November, at the Birmingham NEC (tickets already bought by the time we decided to break up the months of waiting with a Bon Jovi-headlined festival) and it was a welcome return to UK shores for the Toxic Twins.
There were three of us who had travelled down to the Bowl that day, not having a clue about the special treat at the end of the show. The shock and delight didn’t really leave for quite some time – illustrated by the fact my other friend , let’s call him Simon, walked into the luggage rack when we got onto the coach for the journey home.
I had come to Aerosmith a couple of years earlier as a 16-year-old and, 25 years on, the boys from Boston are still number one.
I still regard Permanent Vacation as their ‘new stuff’ – on the basis that everything before, I had the pleasure of discovering and everything after I had to wait for it to arrive.
Soon there will be a new arrival with the release of the long awaited studio album: Music From Another Dimension.
We’ve had a long wait for an album-full of new Aerosmith material. Too long, really.
I suspect I’m not the only fan who is a little nervous about how it will rate when put up against a back catalogue that contains more classics than a library stocked solely with the works of Dickens and Shakespeare.
Those classics seem to get better and better.
The first song I ever heard the whole band play live (on the Pump tour) was Rats in the Cellar, so that has a special place in my heart.
I think it was on the Get a Grip tour when I first heard the band play Last Child, with more oomph in it than Marlon Brando’s bouncy castle.
And if you listen to the heavier-than-the-national-debt live version of Draw the Line from the Rockin’ the Joint album – when you realise how that riff could tear through concrete – it’s hard to believe that song is now 35 years old. What you can appreciate very easily is that it is a brilliant four minutes of music.
It emphasizes that when Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer step onto a stage you get an experience that is better than merely downloading the latest tune to your computer.
Aerosmith has influences from across the musical spectrum and they are easily spotted. But at the core it’s rock – classic and heavy.
There is an awful lot to live up to.
Following his dalliance with American Idol the lead singer hopefully has an appetite renewed for playing with Aerosmith.
Let’s hope we’re going to see plenty of outlandish outfits and hear the voice that is as distinctive as the McDonald’s arches.
What is so special about Steven Tyler is that, for someone whose voice is so laden with innuendo that if he recited The Owl and the Pussycat it would probably make a vicar blush, he also has a wonderful tenderness when it matters.
Dream On is one example that we all know.
You See Me Crying, from Toys in the Attic is another, perhaps less well known to the latest generation of Aerosmith fans. They should make a point of paying it a lot of attention.
It strips away the usual rock bombast, takes away the trademark lasciviousness that licks its way around many Aerosmith lyrics, and instead lays bare the pain of a love lost and a desperate attempt to show defiance.
And it builds up to a screaming plea: the now definitive Tyler scream. It’s a cry of pain and a plea to be welcomed back.
It’s a subject revisited, with similar emotion, in What it Takes on the Pump album.
Tyler does pain very well.
As he does lewdness. He gets away with it because it is so adolescent and, I hope, a little tongue in cheek – so to speak.
Whether it’s Rag Doll, which is positively subtle compared with Love in an Elevator, or Pink, you are left in no doubt just what it is on the singer’s mind.
Inside the body of that rock god and all round major celebrity, there is teenage boy who spends a lot of his time thinking of one thing – with many variations upon a theme.
Of course, he has the perfect foil in Joe Perry, a man so cool it’s a little surprising to learn that when he’s not playing guitar with rock giants, he’s creating hot sauces to sell to the public.
Even in the perm years, Joe Perry had style and poise. While Tyler appears attracted to the limelight like a moth to the flame, Perry accepts it is there and appears to get on with his job – unperturbed by the attention and more concerned with the next chord.
The UK had Jagger and Richards, Page and Plant. As a thank you, the USA gave us Tyler and Perry. It’s a debt evened out.
Those two, of course are the main focus of attention, but the other three provide the platform for them to adopt the limelight.
As a band, they fit.
They’ve had their differences, from actual official departures to apparent tensions over each other’s activities.
But they’re still around.
We should be grateful.
I know I am.
As is my son. Now three years old, one of the first song choruses he learned to sing was Dude (Looks Like a Lady). He’s also a fan of Walk This Way.
So here’s hoping for a good few more years of Aerosmith. I want to take my boy to see them in concert one day.
Follow on Twitter: @Norbertsdad
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