Aerosmith shows Vancouver it can still make it through anything


photo by the Newt


Thursday (September 16) was a big night in Vancouver for legendary guitar acts from the ’70s. Over on the North Shore you had Johnny Winter at the Centennial Theatre, while, downtown, Aerosmith was packing them in at Rogers Arena. I don’t know how the albino blues-rocker from Texas fared, but the Bad Boys of Boston definitely acquitted themselves rockingly. Rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated, even by me.

Warm-up act Joan Jett got the crowd of 11,000 in a retro mood straightaway with the title track off her 1980 solo debut, Bad Reputation (not to be confused with Thin Lizzy’s awesome album of the same name). Looking mighty fine for 51 in black tank-top and black leather pants, the shades-wearing Jett followed up with the punky strains of “Cherry Bomb”, from her old group the Runaways, and kept the exhilarating vibe going with “Light of Day”, the Springsteen-penned theme song of the 1987 drama she costarred in with Burnaby’s favourite son, Michael.

And I don’t mean Bublé.

During the cover of Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, also from Bad Reputation, the audience needed little coaxing to mindlessly chant “Yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!”, and Jett rewarded its obedience with “A.C.D.C.”—not the band, but the 1974 glam-rock ditty by Sweet of “Ballroom Blitz” fame.

The mid ’70s lovefest continued unabated when Aerosmith hit the stage with the blistering double-shot of “Same Old Song and Dance” and “Train Kept A-Rollin’ ” from 1974’s Get Your Wings. I have no clue how the slashing guitars of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford carried up in the nosebleeds, but from my vantage point on the floor—near the end of the ramp where vocalist Steven Tyler would sashay in his shiny silver pants—it was hard-rock heaven.

Tyler sang his skinny ass off brilliantly, making you wonder why the hell he’d shelf his singing career to become a judge on TV’s vacuous American Idol. Viewers are conditioned to seeing the talent-strapped likes of Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell in those type of roles anyway.

Unlike in Toronto last month—when the much-publicized animosity between Perry and Tyler led to the latter being nudged right off the stage—there didn’t seem to be any friction among the bandmates. Tyler rarely let the opportunity to embrace his buddies pass by, whether hanging off of bassist Tom Hamilton during the familiar intro to “Sweet Emotion” or getting up close and personal with drummer Joey Kramer after helping out with his extended, “Look, Ma, just hands!” solo.

While the endlessly gyrating Tyler draws most of the attention from fans, Perry is actually the most magnetic of the two. Whether peeling off choice lap-steel licks with a big stogie in his mouth during the locally made “Rag Doll” or slouching against his amp to fingerpick pretty bits of the uplifting “Dream On”, the just-turned-60 rocker personifies cool. After winning a guitar duel with the animated Guitar Hero version of himself, Perry was shown in video clips hanging out at the Gastown clock and eyeing Canucks jerseys through a store window. His fondness for our fair city is well known, as is his devotion to the six-string stylings of Peter Green, whose bluesy “Stop Messin’ Round” he sang lead on (unfortunately).

During the three-song encore—which, shockingly, didn’t include “Toys in the Attic”—Tyler got everyone to holler “Happy birthday, John!” on cue for a YouTube video that will commemorate what should have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday on October 9. Earlier on Aerosmith had shown its love of the Fab Four by performing Abbey Road’s “Come Together”, which it also recorded for that cheesy appearance in the 1978 movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Hey, if the band survived that calamity, it can make it through anything!

To hear the audio of my interviews with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry from 1987 and Tom Hamilton from 1983 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can eavesdrop on over 200 of my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
John Hiatt, 2010
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness, 1990
Todd Rundgren, 2006
Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, 2001
Steve Earle, 1987
Gabby Gaborno of the Cadillac Tramps, 1991
Terry Bozzio, 2003
Roger Glover of Deep Purple, 1985
Matthew Sweet, 1995
Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds, 2003
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, 1995
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Grace Potter, 2008
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Jeff Healey, 1988
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1996
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Edgar Winter, 2005
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Randy Hansen, 2001
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, 1991
Joe Satriani, 1990
Vernon Reid of Living Colour, 1988
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
Zakk Wylde of Pride & Glory, 1994
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
John Doe, 1990
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Doyle Bramhall II, 2001
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Randy Bachman, 2001
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Alex Van Halen, 1995
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil, 2001
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001

….with hundreds more to come


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