Aer-o-Smith (not quite Waytoo-oldo-Smith)

Chris Homsley

My first rock concert was a 3-way bill in 1978 featuring Ted Nugent, Mother’s Finest, and Aerosmith. My mom took me and my pal, Jim, who lived next door. Jim actually had a copy of Toys in the Attic and we used to play Big Ten Inch over and over and laugh ourselves to the point of having stomach cramps.

Tyler and Perry… phoning it in?

Mom was such a great sport. I remember the dude next to her offering up a joint. She was very polite and turned it down… and then the guy asked if Jim and I wanted any. She said, “No, they don’t need any.”

And so began my love affair with live music. Besides the part where Mom turned down weed. Also the same reason it’s not a real rock concert until THAT smell comes wafting by.

The August 6th show at the Hollywood Bowl was my third time to see Aerosmith. The last time was when they were touring in support of Just Push Play. It’s always great to see a band with such a long history that still has all its members – Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry, and Steven Tyler. And this night they were in solid form.

The view from the Mars Rover and my seat

The opening video bit was probably supposed to have something to do with the Global Warming Tour label… you know, big bad government control and all that. Maybe it was the fact I was too far away to distinguish which one was Steven and which one was Joe at times… but the video thread was lost on me.

I’m in section T2, row 17, seat 5. Hmm. This might be a bit too far back. Noted for next time. It’s like they only designed the show for the first 20 rows.

Whatever.

And then the band just walked out on stage…. WTF, guys? The reason was apparent once uber-cool-factor-injector Stan Lee was on hand to introduce them. Ok, fine, can we play now?

The show kicked off with Draw the Line followed by Love in an Elevator, Same Old Song and Dance and Livin’ on the Edge. Then they played Oh Yeah which fell flat. A bit of redemption as we got back to the good stuff with Last Child and Rag Doll.

OK, we’re on a pretty good streak here. It felt like this was going to be a night full of hits and classic tracks that I grew up with. But then we descended into a long stretch of randomness.

I know these guys started out as a blues band but they don’t need to prove it to us anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I love the blues, but not here and not now. I hate to sound like a dick, but I really just wanted 20 bad ass recognizable tunes, not this wondering off in the woods stuff.

Johnny’s getting Tiger Blood with Sheen after the show

So for 20 or 30 minutes I checked my Facebook feed and waited…

The show ended on two of the band’s strongest songs with Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way. Although, on the later, it sounded like Joey was really tired of having to play this song. That or the sound guys were having a really off night – because the mix was flat and jumbled at times.

Thankfully for the encore, I got the one song I had really come to the show for, Dream On. Steven’s voice was amazingly on pitch for this performance. That’s one of those moments that makes you ask, “How does this guy do that after all these years?”

Then they ruined it all by trotting Johnny Depp out on stage to chug along on Train Kept A-Rollin’. I love Depp, but I wish he’d find another place to do his break-up therapy.

You know what would have been cool? Anyone else from the vast array of musicians in town getting up there. But the girls were losing their minds and I’m sure everyone else is having wet dreams about how totally awesome that moment was.

To me, it was a cheap trick. Pun intended (because they opened the show). I love these guys… I really, really do. It was great to see them for sure, but maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe it would have been better if I had been high.

Dream On indeed….

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