Legends live on at Dome

Categories:  Aerosmith

Calgary Sun, Canada
September 10, 2010

About 10,000 Aerosmith fans were feeling some sweet emotions Friday night.

The Bad Boys of Boston brought their Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock Tour to the Saddledome more than a year after they cancelled an outdoor concert that was to be held at McMahon Stadium.

But Aerosmith fans are forgiving. They have to be.

On one hand, the Beantown quintet is responsible for some of the finest riffs in popular music. But they are also to blame for the cheesiest, bloated corporate-sounding rock ballads that still clog the airwaves on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, many of the over-the-top numbers (the unholy trinity of Cryin’, Crazy, and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing) became the band’s biggest hits. Those massive and frankly quite dated numbers are still much loved by their throngs of fans. At least the thousands who watched Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and company run through a greatest hits set at the Dome.

There has been so much written about Aerosmith in the past year — mostly about Tyler, mind you (Steven Tyler quits Aerosmith! Has Steven Tyler really quit Aerosmith? Is Steven Tyler on drugs? Steven Tyler rejoins Aerosmith! Steven Tyler joins American Idol so he must be on drugs!) — and it seemed it was more curiosity than excitement that greeted the band.

But as the logo-emblazoned black curtain dropped and the four-decade-old band launched into their 1974 classic, Same Old Song and Dance, the crowd was reminded Aerosmith boasts some mighty good musicians.

Perry, in particular, is a monster guitar player. He’s always been key to Aerosmith’s raw blues-rock power, and he’s arguably the main reason to see the band live.

His technique is influenced by such guitar greats as Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, and he expertly blends the grit and rhythm of The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and the technical prowess of Zeppelin-era Jimmy Page.

Of course, Tyler is no wallflower. Although his Wikipedia page stated he’d died in Boston on Thursday (the smartass who added the info obviously didn’t realize Tyler was actually enjoying cupcakes at Chinook Centre the same day), he was alive and relatively well on Friday night.

Dolled up and glammed out in sunglasses, white fedora and suitably sparkly pants, the 62-year-old singer strutted up and down the catwalk, shook whatever was left of his hips and wailed into his scarf-covered mic stand.

He may look like he eats no more than a banana each day, but Tyler still sounds great.

His scratchy vocals can still hit the high notes and it cracked and squeaked in all the right places.

While huge-selling singles such as Love in an Elevator, Jaded and Livin’ On the Edge received the loudest responses, it was Aerosmith’s early blues-rock songs that worked the best.

The band’s cover of Tiny Bradshaw’s 1951 rockabilly classic, Train Kept A-Rollin, was sandwiched between Same Old Song and Dance and Toys In the Attic’s No More No More, which pleased fans of vintage Aerosmith.

As of deadline they had not played Dream On or Walk This Way, which were left for the encore in other cities.

Aerosmith had their work cut out for them, having to follow the pint-sized powerhouse known as Joan Jett.

Jett has been rocking ever since she formed The Runaways at age 15 — and hasn’t lost any of her punk rock edge.

Looking fit and far younger than her 51 years, Jett tore through a loud and rollicking 50-minute set, which featured newer tracks and old favourites such as Do You Wanna Touch Me?, I Hate Myself For Loving You, Light of Day and The Runaways biggest hit, Cherry Bomb.

Kicking off with a razor-sharp rendition of Bad Reputation, Jett and her band The Blackhearts tried their best to energize the crowd with some straight-ahead, leather-clad rock ’n’ roll. But it wasn’t until she got to her famous cover of I Love Rock and Roll near the end of her set that the crowd felt inspired enough to sing along en masse.

Sweet emotions for business owners

Categories:  Steven Tyler

Calgary Sun, Canada
September 10, 2010

Many people would have told Justina Wong to dream on if she thought Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler would help promote her new cupcake store on its opening day.

But after learning the rock star, in town with Aerosmith for a Friday show at the Saddledome, was perusing electronics at Chinook Centre Thursday night, Wong found Tyler and convinced him to walk this way over to her Bliss Cupcakes store just hours after it opened. “I came up behind him discretely and asked him ‘Would you mind trying my cupcake?’ ” said Wong, a co-owner of the cupcake franchise.

“He asked ‘With cream cheese?’ I said ‘Yes,’ and he said ‘Let’s go.’ ”

Tyler then walked from the Sony Store, where he was checking out camcorders and a digital camera, over to the cupcake shop where he indulged his sweet tooth and grabbed some more cupcakes for the rest of the group, dubbed “America’s Greatest Rock Band.”

“I gave him a six pack and he said he’d share it with his band,” Wong said, noting he grabbed two pink cupcakes, a pair of red velvet cupcakes, along with one blue and one lemon pastry.

The 62-year-old rocker’s trip to the mall began quietly enough as he strolled into the Sony Store.

Jason Boot, the store’s assistant manager, was the only one on staff who realized that rock royalty was making a visit.

“He was just killing some time and he was interested in a couple of things,” Boot said, admitting he’s a fan of Aerosmith.

“He just came in and looked at our new stuff — no one noticed him at all at first.”

Boot managed to snap a picture with the rock icon, but only talked about the electronics gear with him.

Wong said even when he followed her across the mall to Bliss, no one seemed to notice Tyler until he started sampling her wares.

“Nobody saw him, no crowds were forming,” she said.

“Then when he went to get the cupcakes, everyone who was in line noticed — there were about 20 people around him by the time he tried to escape.”

Wong said she’s not sure if she can repeat the wild success of opening day, but she’ll always remember it for the sweet emotion of Tyler’s visit.