Steven Tyler emerged from the back stage door after midnight on a Wednesday morning at Uncle Sam’s Night Club on Nantasket Beach in the summer of 1978. Tyler wore a plain white towel draped across his shoulders as he stepped out on the wooden fire escape some fifteen feet above a small crowd of avid fans who awaited his departure. In Tyler style, he greeted the fans below and then tossed the towel down upon the crowd. I got my hands on a corner of it and began to pull. Suddenly, I was on the receiving end of a flurry of blows to the head that knocked me to the ground by an over-enthusiastic road hand who was trying to clear the way for Tyler to exit. Needless to say, I didn’t get the souvenir.
Fast forward some thirty-four years later and I found myself again at the feet of this Rock and Roll giant – this time in floor seats at the Boston Garden. I had just hours earlier spotted a Craigslist Ad offering two great seats for the show. I called the number; then lo and behold, I was speaking with a Georgia resident who grew up right here in Rockvegas. David Rehm, a Rocklandite of the highest order, was in town for a golf tournament when he bought what he thought was tickets to Aerosmith’s Tuesday night show. At the gate, he had his ticket scanned, only to learn that he had bought seats for the Thursday night show. He was able to score new tickets and ended up with stage-side seats. In fact, while David used his I-phone to record the event, Tyler took the camera from his hand and made a video of himself and David cheering wildly, leaving a memory that will last a lifetime. So, David informed me that he had already flown back to Atlanta but told me he had given the tickets to a friend in Plymouth who promised to sell them for him. That friend was none other than Rockland favorite son, the King of Plaster, my old friend Mark Shanahan. They gave me a great price on the seats; and before I knew it, I was sitting 10 yards from the stage.
The show started out with Rock legends, Cheap Trick. These guys were as good as ever, cranking out an hour of some of the most iconic tunes in the history of Rock and Roll. I was thrilled to see the high level of world- class rock and roll these guys delivered. I Want You To Want Me, Surrender, Dream Police, Ain’t That A Shame, California Man – one after another, Cheap Trick wove a Rock and Roll tapestry of solid gold classics that transformed the new Garden from a handful of quiet early birds into the full-blown frenzy of a Boston Garden house party. Two thumbs up to the Cheap Trick Corporation.
After a brief intermission, the house lights went black. A few strokes of the Strat and suddenly, two of the biggest, baddest rock giants in the world appeared like magic from a cloud of smoke center stage and began chirping out the first few licks of Draw the Line. A rush of sheer euphoria overwhelmed my senses as these two heroes of my teens were able to reproduce the spirit of the seventies with a state-of-the-art rock and roll spectacle that rivaled any rock show I have ever seen. Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Tommy Hamilton, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler all had the vigor and enthusiasm of men half their age. To put it in perspective, it would be like dragging the big bad Bruins out of retirement led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and having them go out and win a playoff game in today’s NHL. It can truly be said that not only is Aerosmith back in the saddle, they are riding on purebred stallions that can gallop along and fire off for over an hour - spanning four decades of the greatest rock and roll ever performed. The show was filled with thrills and chills as, one after another, Brad Whitford led the band through mega hit after mega hit. Tyler was absolutely the best he has ever been, sporting a girlish figure and the energy of a nuclear submarine. The sure-footed Tyler tight-roped blindly along the edge of the stage several times as if taunting the stage hands and reassuring the world that he was not about to fall off again.
The ten thousand fans that packed the Garden were treated to a first-class rock and roll extravaganza that will go down in history as one of the greatest shows ever. No one in rock and roll can measure up to what Aerosmith brought to Bean Town last night. Not the Rolling Stones, not The Who, not no one, not no how. Contrast this show with Roger Waters’ show a few weeks back. Waters spent 50 million on politics and special effects, leaving fans on empty, while Aerosmith used genius and elbow grease – blowing the doors off The Wall with sheer tenacity and talent.
Aerosmith has spanned some forty years and is now like a fine wine just reaching the peak of perfection. Aerosmith has been toiling, striving, building and hammering out a legacy of excellence that is unprecedented in the music industry. Aerosmith truly is America’s greatest Rock and Roll Band.
When asked to comment our Commander-in-Chief could only respond, “You didn’t build that!”
Thank you to the Bad Boys From Boston for preserving your music, your image and yourselves to the complete delight of your fans.