Archive for November 2012
Having just seen Cheap Trick a few months ago and having had such a great time at that show, when the second leg of Aerosmith’s Global Warming Tour was announced, I knew I had to go. This was not a cheap show by any stretch of the imagination and I think partially because this show was sponsored by/centered around the Formula 1 (F1) race that is in Austin this weekend. Thousands of people from around the world have come to town to watch cars go fast at a premium price. More power to ’em, I say.
I bought 2 tickets to the show as I figured it would be pretty easy to have a friend tag a long. For various and sundry reasons ranging from work, lies, sickness etc, it was difficult finding someone to come with. Finally my friend’s girlfriend stepped up and came with me. Perfect. She’s a good friend and we’re almost related. haha.
We walked to the Erwin Center, checked out the shirts and found our seats. We were a little higher in the stands than I would have liked, but that’s what I got in the ticket presale. No biggie.
Cheap Trick hit the stage promptly at 8PM to their standard opener of Hello There and went right in to Come On, Come On. The band sounded great and Robin’s voice was crystal clear as it was a few months ago. Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) came out and played guitar with them on Ain’t That A Shame which was super cool. A few songs later and right after Sick Man Of Europe (great song!) they announced that they would do a Beatles song. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith – duh) came out and split vocal duties on Golden Slumber/Carry That Weight/The End. While I’m no Beatles fan, it’s blatantly obvious that both Cheap Trick and Aerosmith are. It was a cool thing to see them on stage together. They closed with I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police and Surrender. I was hoping to hear She’s Tight again but no biggie. Cheap Trick changes their set up every night which is quite impressive. The crowd left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t even half full for most of their set. Either way, Cheap Trick sounded great again and I can’t wait to see them for a 4th time, whenever that may be.
After about a 30 minute set change, Aerosmith hits the stage with Mama Kin. On the first leg of this tour they had been opening with Draw The Line. Unfortunately that song fell from the setlist for this leg. It’s my fave! They went right in to Love In An Elevator (gag) and that was my cue to go to the bathroom. I really dislike that era of Aerosmith in general, save for a few songs. As my buddy put it last night, “they played the soccer mom setlist.” No truer statement could be told. It was cool to hear Movin’ Out and Last Child, which was my brother’s (RIP) favorite song by them. Hearing that one definitely sent a little wave of emotion up through me. What It Takes sounded great and that’s probably my favorite song from that era of the band. There were a few songs from the new album played and of course they did Come Together (I detest the Beatles in general), Dude Looks like a Lady (gag), Walk This Way (heard too many times to enjoy), Dream On and Sweet Emotion. Right before Dream On, a piano was to rise up out of the runway portion of the stage. It seemed as if there was a Spinal Tap moment about to happen as the piano wouldn’t move. But it finally did and they played through the song perfectly. While I’ve heard that song too many times in a lifetime, I still like it.
Tyler’s voice sounded great and the energy that the man has is practically unparallelled by any rock singer. His interactions with the crowd and just overall gender bending charm are unmatched. I think he’s a freak of nature to have done the things to his body that he has done and still be able to perform at that level. It’s impressive. Perry played well but I’ve always thought of Whitford being the unsung hero of that band. That guy is a killer guitarist but gets zero credit. Joey Kramer, as always, played flawlessly. I love seeing him live. Let’s not forget Tom Hamilton. Talk about unsung. He’s a lot like Bill Wyman in that he’s seemingly the quiet one in the band but lays down low end perfectly. He and Joey are definitely in tune with each other as they should be after playing together for 40 years.
It was a great show and was my 3rd time seeing Aerosmith (’89 and ’93 previously). It was also my 3rd time for Cheap Trick (’99 and ’12).
My history with Styx (my Styxtory? Sorry…) isn’t really so deep and meaningful like it is with a lot of bands I see and review here, but I’ve always liked them. To be honest, I think I only owned one of their greatest hits compilations and that wasn’t until the late 90s. Maybe I owned Paradise Theater at some point, too. I don’t really remember. I also owned Tommy Shaw’s Girls With Guns CD which was quite good. They’ve been to Austin a few times since I lived here but I never had the hankering to go. When this show was announced I decided to pull the trigger. Tickets were reasonable and it was at one of my favorite venues, The Moody Theater.
One thing I do remember is that around 1981, Paradise Theater was plastered on the airwaves and you couldn’t get away from it. I didn’t consider it a bad thing. As many of you faithful readers may know, my older brother, Robert (RIP), was a huge influence on me musically and he never got into Styx and I followed suit as a little kid who watched his every move musically. When Paradise came out, I was in 5th grade and did quite enjoy what I heard from the album like Rockin’ The Paradise, Too Much Time On My Hands, Snowblind and especially Best of Times. I think it was Deyoung’s sappy and whimpy vocals which always seemed to turn me off for the most part. And their follow-up album, Kilroy Was Here, had the megahit Mr. Roboto. Who didn’t get forced to like it?
Right after buying tickets, I had asked my friend Johnette if she wanted to go and she instantly said yes. She’s a bit younger but was familiar with much of Styx’s greatest hits thanks to family members. Concert day came and we met downtown and walked to the venue. I have to say it was such a beautiful night to walk downtown in this fair city and with this fair maiden!
We got to the venue, grabbed a beer and ran into some friends there including Rick Colaluca (and his girlfriend Constance) from Watchtower, who is one of my favorite drummers and played in one of my favorite bands. We then went to our seats in the balcony, front row center of course!
Styx started a few minutes after 8PM and they went right into Blue Collar Man and then The Grand Illusion. They superbly rolled through many of their live standards like Too Much Time on My Hands, Lady, Lorelei etc. I will just go ahead and say that at their ages, it was quite nice to see how well Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young could still belt out the high notes effortlessly. I imagine that in-ear monitors have helped a lot of our ageing rockers in recent years, but still, these guys sounded great. Lawrence McGowan, who replaced Dennis DeYoung several years ago does an incredible job sounding like Dennis and also playing the keyboards, although he is extremely showy with the spinning keyboard. Having never seen wither guitar player live, I was quite impressed with their skills. Both guys are incredibly talented. Bassist Ricky Phillips looked like he was spot on, unfortunately I really couldn’t hear much bass. His backing vocals were stellar. Doing some research I see that he played in Bad English and The Babys. Drummer Todd Sucherman was great to watch. He did a few things here and there that just made me say, “wow!” Apparently both he and Ricky make Austin their home these days.
A pleasant surprise came right before Fooling Yourself when they brought founding member Chuck Ponazzo on stage to play bass. He came back out for Come Sail Away and Rockin’ The Paradise.
I have to say that the highlight tracks for me were Pieces of Eight, Castle Walls, Crystal Ball and Man In The Wilderness. Had Best of Times been played, I think I would have shed a tear. It’s definitely one of those “time and place” kind of songs for me.
Overall it was a great show and definitely opened the door for me to go see them again. I really wish I hadn’t waited so long as their live performance was really good, although some of the stage choreography was a tad goofy. Again, their voices were utterly amazing. We both had a wonderful time and ended the night at a club with some good friends and more great music.
Life is good.
Through former bands/bandmates, friends and even MTV, Husker Du/Bob Mould/Sugar have always been in my periphery somewhat. This week I was offered a pass to see Bob Mould for his Austin City Limits taping. He’s in town to play at FunFunFunFest. Of course I wanted to go. I missed Bob earlier this year at SxSW.
While I’m not familiar with all of his material, I have owned Candy Apple Grey, Workbook, Copper Blue and Beaster since each came out. Good solid rock.
Tonight’s show was great. I was given a setlist prior to the show and got a good idea of what to expect. Lots from Copper Blue which was great. The whole band was great and the bassist provided great backing vocals. So glad I went and thankful for the free pass!
Sorry, no pics as cameras were not allowed since this was recorded for a TV broadcast.