Aug 13, 2010

Concert Review: Aerosmith "Keep A Rollin" at Jones Beach in New York

Aerosmith’s "Cocked & Loaded" 2010 Summer Tour rocked across Europe in June, wrapping up in Venice, Italy on July 3rd. This month they are bringing it home across North America with last night’s stop in New York, on Long Island at the Jones Beach Theater. The weather looked like it may be an issue, but it held off with only a few sprinkles, just enough to frizz up Steven Tyler’s hair.

It’s hard to imagine that Aerosmith have now been around going on four decades. I go back to the seventies as a fan of the band, since they exploded on the radio with Walk this Way, and came alive out of the pages of Creem magazine. Did you practice drawing the Draw the Line album cover as much as I did? I was there as they reunited in the early eighties and I think have seen just about every tour since. I lost count but I believe last night was my ninth or tenth Aerosmith show. Once again they did not disappoint.

The band opened up the show with a rocking killer version of 1975’s album title track, Toys in the Attic. What a way to begin, how great was this night going to be? As soon as Steven Tyler hits the stage, he brings excitement & energy, lighting up the whole arena with his presence. With a microphone stand full of hanging scarves, dancing behind sun glasses,& donning tight black pants with silver sparkling pin stripes, Tyler strutted across the stage, driving the crowd wild. The packed stadium remained on their feet all night, from the front rows as far up as I could see into the upper deck. Tyler rarely stayed on the main stage with the band, spending most of his time on a long runway which went out about 20 rows into the crowd. He flirted with the ladies in the crowd, pouting, shaking hands, giving high fives & dancing his stuff up & down that runway.

He doesn’t stay still for too long, and prances around the stage like a rock star should, just like the good old days. The man can still scream & hit those incredibly high notes like he used too. He is ageless & perfect at what he does. Yes, the crowd still loves it. Beyond all the showmanship, he did a great job on lead vocals, sounding better than ever, not missing a note on any level. Mr. Tyler also plays a mean harmonica, and did his thing on harp many times throughout the evening. He egged the crowd on a couple of times for not being loud enough & scolded one guy in the front row for sitting down before the encores started. He doesn’t let anyone in the band alone for long, as he sings in their face, hangs on their shoulders as they play which all adds to the theatrics.

Joe Perry was dressed in a black vest, over a long purple shirt, looking sharp & fashionable in his new hairstyle, with a grey streak in the front of his parted brown hair. His guitar playing was nothing less than spectacular, as he wailed on leads & showed off some technical tricks, like feedback with his amps & the classic talk box for Sweet Emotion. At times he seemed happier to stand off the side of the stage and play his guitar rather than be harassed by Tyler, who kept singing over in his face. He shared the mic with him many times on the evening as well. Perry also took center stage playing guitar, especially during his solo where he dueled against a Guitar Hero cartoon version of himself. He took lead vocals and played a fantastic blues version of Jimi Hendrix’s Red House.

Tom Hamilton, who stands so much taller than the other members, played his bass standing proud with a smile on his face all night. He seemed very happy, as he stood at the front of the stage, most of the night on the bands right side, playing a thunderous bass that is the backbone of the Aerosmith sound along with drummer Joey Kramer. He got center stage when it came time for Sweet Emotion, as his opening bass line introduces the song. As for Kramer, he did a fine drum solo & kept the rhythm going all night, with his new blonde locks of hair & tight black studded shirt. Last but not least, there was Brad Whitford who puts his head down & keeps the songs going with his great rhythm guitar work. He got a chance to play a few leads during the night most notably the first solo on Red House & Last Child. Tyler introduced the surprise song Last Child as something Whitford came into the studio with in 1976, for the great, Rocks album. (My favorite Aerosmith album!)

On a strange note, toward the end of Sweet Emotion, you heard a big thump. Now I was in the Orchestra seats with my binoculars, which brings me right up on the stage. I SAW Tyler swing his mic stand and clock Perry right in the head. Perry had an angry look on his face, and took off his guitar & walked off the stage. Knowing these guys history, you never knew what was next, maybe a fist fight. But no, Tyler walked down the runway, with a pissed off look on his face & admitted to the crowd what had just happened. He said “sh#% happens, if you don’t think so, dream on” which led into the next song. They made nice & were sharing the mic together on the next song.

Highlights of the night for me were the opener Toys in the Attic, an eye brow raising surprise of Last Child from my favorite Aerosmith album; Rocks. The Beatles cover of Come Together, which Aerosmith had a hit with back in the late seventies. Also a raw, raunchy, hard rocking, kick butt version of another fav. album of mine; the title track from Draw the Line. And yes fans, Tyler can still hit that high screaming verse near the end. The music was played absolutely flawless, better than the album version, and after all the great guitar solos, Joe Perry threw his guitar down on the stage. He pulled off his belt & beat it onto the guitar to bang out the final notes of the song. I also have to add in another highlight for me besides the usual classics of Dream On, Sweet Emotion & Walk this Way, was another old live classic; Train Kept A Rolllin’.!!
To their credit they always know how to work a set list, pulling out the classics, a few rare old ones, some new stuff & a ballad or two for the girls. They pulled out another surprise, One Way Street, which Tyler dedicated to Liv, from their very first album in 1973.
What a great show this was, can’t wait to see them again, keep it up guys!!



Aug 11, 2010

Former Met of the Day: Barry Manuel (1997)

Barry Paul Manuel was born on August 12, 1965 in Mamou, Louisiana. He was a star pitcher at Louisiana State University getting drafted in the 2nd round of the 1987 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers. He came up in September 1991 and got his first MLB victory pitching in just 8 games. The next year he pitched only 3 games in September going 1-0 again. He was released then picked up by Baltimore, released & signed by Montreal. He spent four years in the minors leagues before coming back up in Montreal in 1996 going 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA.

The Mets purchased his contract in Spring Training in 1997, and he was put right in the bullpen. He took a loss on the 5th game of the 1997 season, allowing two runs in the 8th inning after Rick Reed had thrown seven shutout innings. Manuel pitched in 19 games getting only that one decision, going 0-1 with a 5.26 ERA, allowing 15 earned runs in 25 innings pitched. His stay in New York was short, and he was granted free agency at the end of the year. He went to Arizona going 1-0 there in 13 games. His short career produced a 7-2 record with a 3.87 ERA. He went to pitch in Japan in the 1999 season.

Retirement: Barry currently serves as baseball coach and the football coordinator for Westminster Christian Academy in Opelousas, Louisiana.

Aug 2, 2010

Italian / American Player of the Day: Chris Coletta

Christopher Michael Coletta was born on August 2, 1944. in Brooklyn, New York. The five foot eleven, left hand hitting outfielder grew up on Long Island. He was a star player at Hicksville high school in the early sixties, getting signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1962 as an amateur free agent.

Coletta was a left hand hitting outfielder. He would spend ten seasons in the minor leagues before getting a call up as a member of the 1972 California Angels. In his minor league career he hit over .300 nine times, including batting .332 in 1972 earning the call up. He made his debut in mid August, but saw very little playing time the rest of the way.

In the first game of a double header in September, he got a pinch hit driving in a run against that years World Champion Oakland A’s. His hit came off Blue Moon Odom in the top of the 8th while down 10-0.

On September 24th he hit his only career HR off Minnesota’s Jim Perry, in the 8th inning in what turned out to be the game winner 2-1. Colletta would play in 14 games that season, getting nine hits, (9-30) good enough to bat .300. It was his only MLB season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in August of 1973 as a player to be named later, and finished up his baseball career in 1976.