Nov 21, 2012

Concert Review: Aerosmith & Cheap Trick- Madison Square Garden 11-20-12

What an incredible night at Madison Square Garden for the Aerosmith / Cheap Trick Concert. It began at 5:30 PM with a meet & greet with Cheap Trick. This was very kool & something I would do again in the future with other bands (if affordable).

We got to walk backstage & under the stage out on the same path the band takes during the concert. There were a small group of us which included people from Australia, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Boston & Connecticut as well as us local New Yorkers. We were met by a Cheap Trick representative & taken on our journey. We received a signed lithograph, a backstage lanyard pass & lots of guitar pics. Rick Nielson's thing is throwing out & giving out pics.

There was a photo op. with actual guitars the band used on stage that night & then the big moment. A meeting with the band & photo op taken by the representative. This was so kool, first off the guys were great; Nice, polite approachable & very thankful for fan support.

Tom Peterson made a strong impression on me as being maybe the most friendly of all in his quiet way. "Hi I'm Tom" he said as I walked over, "I know who you are" I said .

Later, since all the people who bought the meet & greet package were sitting together on the side of the stage, in the same section; Peterson walked over, searched us out by putting his hand above his eyes to block the glare & acknowledged us personally.

Nielson did do the same but not as personable as Toms Some of these folks also purchased tickets to sit on the stage itself & Nielson seemed very accommodating to them during the performance.

I also got to shake Robin Zander & Rick Nielson's hands as well. When Nielson asked where I was from, I said it's hard to follow up on all these people from all around the world, I'm just from the Bronx & Queens! As we laughed.

I said if there is one thing I'd ever want to ask Cheap Trick it's "what was it like to play with John Lennon" (in reference to their 1979 session of "I'm Losing You, released on the Lennon box set.) There wasn't much time to chat, as this whole process was planned out on a time limit, but I caught him off guard & he just said "yea (taken off guard) well, it was great" with strong emotion seeming like he wanted to elaborate more.

All in all a great experience. Now I have to wait for them to post the pictures on their website.

As we walked from backstage we caught Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith on stage having a Q & A with fans that paid for that package. It was strange to be in the Garden so early, with no one around.

We settled in to our seats later as Cheap Trick took the stage. They played to a pretty small crowd at the start of their set, but it filled in nicely by the final songs. They are a great veteran classic rock band, doing what they do best, playing good rock music very well.

Earlier at the meet & greet, Elyse had asked for a Beatles song. The band is notorious for being huge Beatles fans, as mentioned earlier they even played with John Lennon who admired their music as well. Cheap Trick have gone on tour doing a full Sgt. Pepper show & had a hit with a cover of Magical Mystery Tour.

Tom Peterson told her they haven't been playing any on this tour but maybe we can do one tonight. Rick Nielson chimed in "for her we'll do three!". Sure enough to our surprise they did a version of the Golden Slumbers medley (three songs) from Abbey Road- how kool is that!

They did mention they had requests for Beatles songs. By playing this song they dropped The Flame, which had been a regular in the set list up to tonight.

For me it was the final three songs that made the show. By now the crowd was on their feet singing & dancing to Cheap Tricks biggest songs; I Want You to Want Me- Dream Police & Surrender in which Nielson played his famous yellow checker board, five neck guitar.

Surrender is one of the best songs of all time, probably in my top ten. During the classic line " mom & dad were rolling on the couch.....got my Kiss records out" Nielson threw out a Cheap Trick album to the crowd followed by a barrage of guitar pics.

Original drummer Bun E. Carlos no longer tours with the band,
 Rick Nielson's son is the touring drummer.


It was thirty five plus years since Cheap Trick hit it big with Live at Budokan. I was in the sixth grade & a big fan of them at thier peak through the Dream Police album. Those songs will always be a soundtrack to those adolescent days. I have seen the band a maybe four times through the years, most notably on Halloween 1985 at Radio City Music Hall.


Cheap Trick Set List:
Hello There
Big Eyes
Come On, Come On
California Man
On Top of the World
Ain't That a Shame (with Aerosmith's Brad Whitford)
I Know What I Want
Need Your Love
Baby Loves to Rock
Sick Man of Europe
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End (The Beatles cover)
I Want You to Want Me
Dream Police
Surrender


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In between sets there were a few celebrity sightings, from our great seats which were; first section on the side of the stage, row five. This was right at the end of the ramp on the right side of the stage & right over the walk way to the floor/front row seats. My new Australian friend from the meet & greet ( a member of the band Enticer) pointed out Liv Tyler ( & her kids) as well as Sean Lennon. I spotted Mark Hudson (producer/ musician & song writer) as well as the legendary producer Jack Douglas. I also got a text from one of my life long best friends & his wife who were also at the show.


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 photo taken from consequenceofsound.net Dana Gavin
 
Aerosmith hits the stage & the crowd goes wild for the next two hours. The band opened up with Mama Kin, as Steven Tyler & Joe Perry come up out of the floor at the end of the long runway which ran half way into the Garden's audience. This is where Tyler spent most of his night hamming it like the rock star he is. At other times he was up alongside his other band mates, singing & sticking his mic into their faces.

He dances, he strutted, he jumped around & threw himself on the ground. Above all he sang & he sang well, very well. He was amazing with all the energy the man has & all the running around he does, that his voice can be that spectacular.

At this point in time, Steven Tyler is probably the best rock performer in the business, anywhere, any age. The man electrifies an audience, he steals the show. He never stops moving or performing the part he is suppose to play. In classic Tyler fashion, he has the long scarves hanging from his microphone stand, which he twirls around like it's a baton adding to his stage persona.

But of course it's not all about Steven Tyler. It's about the music & Aerosmith are one of the world's greatest bands. They are the original members & one of the best live bands you'll ever see. These guys have been playing together since the early seventies & they've been through it all. From break up, to drug addiction, divorces, fist fights & falling out of being on top to rising back up time & time again. By now it all looks easy for them. They are just great! Amazing!

Joe Perry with his new half moustache, was donning scarves over his leather jacket, grimacing at his guitar while he plays like he's trying to melt the neck with his hand. He certainly has all the classic poses & when he stands in front of the large wind fans with his hair blowing back, he is what a rock guitar player should look like. And yes he certainly can still play, his lead guitar work was phenomenal.

When he & Tyler team get side by side to sing together on the mike, it's about as classic as classic rock can get.

Perry always sings lead on one song in concert & this time it was Combination, from my favorite Aerosmith album; Rocks (1976). Tyler sang along on the song too, as I saw him sitting near the drums behind the scenes.

Joey Kramer did a great drum solo & he is certainly on top of his game as one of rocks best drummers. Tom Hamilton bass (along with Kramer) make the back bone to the whole blues/ rock sound Aerosmith has always been.

Hamilton has become a big spokesman for the group recently on you tube, & with the meet & greets as mentioned earlier. He also addressed the crowd on our side, as he walked up the ramp & played there for a good long while. And so important to the band is the most low keyed member on stage, Brad Whitford; who's rhythm guitar work is so vital to Aerosmith. Wilford also came out on stage with Cheap Trick playing on their classic cover version of Ain't that A Shame".

As for the set list, it was a great mix of old & new, as well as big hits & deeper album cuts. With such an incredible library a lot is put into what songs the band will play on each tour. They need to make everyone happy.

This time around they pretty much left out the slow ballads, only doing Jaded & What It Takes from Pump (1989). It was done with Tyler starting out telling a story of a break up, as he lie down on the stage & focused on a woman in the crowd, certainly making her night. He then started out the song acapella with no music behind him, showing off how good his voice is. The band then joined in & Perry added a great solo.

They did some biggies; Elevator, Rag Doll, & Dude Looks Like A Lady, which is a song Tyler usually never liked to play live, so it was a treat. Of course then the Big Three ended the show.

There was some old stuff thrown in the set list; Walking the Dog & Movin Out (both from their debut album) as well as Boogie Man. Mixed in were No More No More from Toys (1975), Livin on the Edge from Get A Grip (1993) & the great Last Child from Rocks (1976).

They did two songs; Lover Alot & Oh Yeah, from the new album; Music From Another Dimension. It is a great album, certainly their best album in twenty years. It has the old Aerosmith sound from the roots of the seventies as proven with the two songs they played in concert.

                                                             photo-glidemagazine.com
Another surprise & certainly a treat for us Beatles fans, was having Sean Lennon come on stage to join them on Come Together. This is a rare one that I haven't seen played live in I don't know how long. Aerosmith first covered Come Together in 1978 for the dreadful attempt of a move version of Sgt. Peppers Lonley Hearts Club Band that the Beatles had nothing to do with. Aerosmith being the only good thing that came out of the project.

If I tallied it up correctly the most songs came from the first album (3) & Toys in The Attic (3) with Rocks, Permanent Vacation, Pump & Music From Another Dimension all getting (2). Nothing from Draw the Line!

photo taken from consequenseofsound.net Dana Yavin

Aerosmith Set List:
Mama Kin
Love in an Elevator
Jaded
Oh Yeah
Livin' on the Edge
Movin' Out
Walkin' the Dog
Last Child
Drum Solo
Rag Doll
Boogie Man
Combination
Lover Alot
What It Takes
No More No More
Come Together (with Sean Lennon)
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Walk This Way 
      
Encores: Dream On
Sweet Emotion

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