Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aerosmith - Summerfest

During the '80's (those of us that still remember the '80's) there was a time where all that was heard was Run DMC and their version of "Walk This Way".  It was interesting when I look back on that time (its a bit choppy so stick with me) and I remember the video of the song.  What I remember the most was the shot of those unlaced Adidas's and I remember this out of place, long haired dude beating on the wall with a mic stand.  I think that's the way it went anyway.

Okay I lied, I do remember the video, and I do know that the song was a sampled version of the Aerosmith classic "Walk This Way".  Interestingly I do remember hearing people ask why Joe Perry and Steven Tyler were in the video as well as the "Run DMC" song.  Aerosmith and I were really never great friends (I know that sounds like I knew the band but I didn't and stop judging me).  I knew their music, I even have a cassette of "Toys In The Attic" but I think what finally drew me to the band were the girls that liked them (I figured if Tyler could get women...).

Tyler and the boys started to grow on me so as their music went, I began to like them.  In the mix with Aerosmith unfortunately were eleven million hair bands so the band got pigeon-holed with them.  Its an easy comparison actually, they all had big, Aqua Net coated, long hair, they all wore brightly colored, tattered clothing over some type of Spandex pants and every girl between the ages of 13 - 25 seemed to be infatuated with them.  The comparison is valid but it is completely off base.  Aerosmith was all of the things I mentioned but this band was different than 95% of the bands in that hair band category.

Aerosmith had talent, they were gifted songwriters and musicians and they had been together for more than an hour and a half.  The band was started in 1964 (at least an early iteration of its future self) so they had twenty-three years of experience before DMC released their version in 1987.  When the band released their first album in 1973 it reached a respectable 21st in the Billboard 200 charts.  That first album included three songs that have firmly entrenched themselves as fan favorites (Dream On, Mama Kin, Walkin' the Dog) but as 1987 rounded the corner, so did the album "Permanent Vacation".  With "Permanent Vacation" came the success of their songs "Rag Doll", "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Angel" and "Hangman Jury".

That album is noteworthy not just because of those songs but the associated tour should have been my first attempt at seeing the band live.  The trend in my life is one of missing the bands at the height of their popularity and seeing them later in life (I'm in my 40's now so waiting much longer wouldn't be a great idea).  On July 7th, 2012 I made the trip to Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to see Cheap Trick and Aerosmith.  There was a certain sense of excitement for me because I hadn't seen either band live before and I had never been to Summerfest. 

Excitement often leads to disappointment and oddly enough that happened that cool July evening.  The disappointment in which I speak involves traffic, terrible directions, clueless public officials and parking attendants, unmarked publicly distributed maps, worthless security and ticket "takers", double standards and a rather large ticket conglomerate that we paid for "Premium" parking for a lot we couldn't find.  Generally I never do this BUT since I did the little disappointment thing already I want it to be known that neither band was to blame for any of it and they (well at least one) of the bands played and sounded AMAZING. 

Here's another disclaimer:  Due to all of the disappointing events that befell our trip we missed Cheap Trick ENTIRELY so I really can't write about them.  Unfortunately for me, I have never seen them live either.

When we arrived we were promptly jacked around (not professional sounding so I apologize) by the gate staff so because of them we missed at least the first fifteen to twenty minutes of Aerosmith's performance.  Its kind of odd coming into something that you anticipate to be great performance and you really can't get amp'd up before the start of the show with the rest of the crowd.  Our seats were pretty decent so our view of the stage was great and with the addition of the huge hi-def screens, it made the transition from angry to really excited.

The band sounded crisp and they sounded great and more importantly it seemed that the band were a cohesive team.  All of the solos were well done and each member seemed to feed off of each solo.  The songs were clear and immediately recognizable (which is at times for some bands extremely difficult).  The part of the evening that really touched me was hearing "Dream On" live.  "Dream On" for me at least is a reflection of my teen years, those years after I graduated from "good old Galena High School".  The song itself, not the lyrics, makes me smile and even shed a tear some nights.  As the lights went down and the roadies began to roll a piano out onto the extended walkway from the stage I immediately knew what song they would be doing for that encore.  Hearing the song live does go down as one of the greatest moments of my "musical journey".

Yet another "missed them when I was younger" moment has been fulfilled when I attended the July 7th, 2012 Aerosmith concert.  I was able to relive a little of my past and I was able to have some fun while doing it.  Despite the chain of events that transpired before my attendance at Aerosmith's set, I loved the show.  Everything that they did on stage made me forget the shoddy conditions and events while they performed.  As for those events, well that is best discussed on another blog (I'll post that one too) but the consensus for their performance was extraordinary. 

The band was great, their performance compels me to tell you to see Aerosmith live.  I promise you will not be disappointed!

No comments:

Post a Comment