The Newt nets two pleasurable brain tweaks during Aerosmith’s Vancouver show

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 19, 1993

In last week’s Straight, former doper Joe Perry explained that music was his drug of choice now, that it was capable of giving him an instant attitude change whenever he needed it. Well, last Saturday (August 14) Perry and his mates showed yours truly just how potent a rock ’n’ roll buzz can be, because I got two physical rushes during the first half-hour of their Coliseum show.

And those suckers are hard to come by these days.

The band started things off with “Eat the Rich”, the tune with the opening riff that’s been going through my head for the last week, and by the time Aerosmith launched into “Toys in the Attic”, it was clear that it is still the world’s best hard-rock band, GN’R or no GN’R.

“Well, I got the buzz on tonight, motherfucker!” Steven Tyler screamed by way of introduction. The energy level of the 45-year-old vocalist seems to have increased over the years, although his performing style—like that of a horny scarecrow under the influence—hasn’t changed at all.

“Here’s an Aerosmith version of a country-and-western song,” he said, as the subtle opening strains of that ’70s fave, “Back in the Saddle”, rumbled off the stage. I got my first rush—sort of a tingling at the top of the head that flowed down into my face—when Tyler screeched, “I’m baaaaack!” at precisely the right moment in that tune. “So ya like the old shit, eh?” he said afterwards, and the crowd of 13,000 roared its approval.

The last time Aerosmith played Vancouver, on the Pump tour, the band had a much more elaborate stage setup; this time the only real prop was Joey Kramer’s drum kit, which slid sideways on its riser. But the sparse staging and lack of special effects only helped the crowd to focus on the 25 tunes the group played during its 135-minute set.

As usual, lead guitarist Perry was a versatile standout throughout, and his searing slide work on “Draw the Line” combined with Tyler’s throat-wrenching vocal to give me that second welcome brain tweak. Perry paid homage to former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, taking the mike for the blues-rocking “Stop Messin’ Around”. And during the five-song encore, Perry  tossed in a bit of Green’s “Oh Well” as an intro to “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” a tune made famous by his other main influence, the Yardbirds.

Atlanta-based noisemakers Jackyl opened the show, sounding like Mötley Crüe in a head-on collision with Black Oak Arkansas on the “Highway to Hell”. Their blustery mix of southern rock and amped-up boogie-blues had its moments, although it would have been nice if the originally scheduled Megadeth hadn’t been dropped from the bill. Still, swaggering lead vocalist Jesse Dupree did play chainsaw behind his head, which I’d never seen before, and pulled off some pretty impressive stool-smashing as well.

 

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