The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

AEROSMITH, SAMMY HAGAR & THE WABOS

MGM Grand Garden Arena

31st July 2010

 

I have never seen Sammy Hagar live before except with Van Halen so to have him open up for Aerosmith is a bit of a treat. I must admit I'm not quite sure what to expect from the Wabos, though that is soon dispelled as this is clearly to be a straight rock show. The set has a familiar cantina background to it and the band look happy to be here in Vegas.

 

After STANDING ON TOP OF THE WORLD we get some typical Sammy humour "Hello Vegas, It's good to be in vegas tonnight, the problem is I was here last night". A scantily-clad waitress then comes onto the stage as Sammy calls for hair of the dog "Hey she ain't no dog, and there's probably no hair either" The crowd greets this with either groans or smiles. "We're up for a good time now and after" He toasts the crowd and it's apparent he clearly does love Vegas.

 

What follows is one of my highlights where Sammy takes his Montrose and mixes it up like a coctail and we end up with a Montrose mash of SPACE STATION NUMBER 5 and ROCK CANDY. At the end of which he's sat on the edge of the stage playing slide before blasting into a raucous BAD MOTOR SCOOTER. It's great stuff.

 

 

We lose a bit of momentum with BEST OF BOTH WORLDS which seems to sound slightly stilted, or has maybe just been slowed a little, whatever it may be it loses a little momentum before our next Sammy interlude, telling us that 15 years ago he was looking for a bassist and a band member says he knows a girl - "A chick?" was Sammy's first reaction, quickly followed by "What does she look like?" Then he proceeds to tell us about Mona arriving for the audition on the back of a Harley. "But boy can she play!"

 

Then Sammy gets distracted by two Canadian girls before telling his Rick Springfield story. Back in '77 he tells us he had a flop, Rick covered it and he had a smash. When he asked Springfield why, Rick just said "Dude, I'm better lookng!". We then of course get EVERYTHING FOR YOU.

 

After MONEY TALKS there is a toast to Aerosmith before we go into RIGHT NOW; which may just be the best song of the night and one that Sammy tells us "I wrote this song on the beach"

 

After a stry about the party they have every year at Cabo, down in Mexico, that just makes you want to fly on down, Sammy shoots a streamer gun into the crowd which covers about eight rows and like crawling out of a spiderweb it takes them about half a song to extract themselves. We're into MAS TEQUILA after which he has another and streamers cover the crowd again - "Are we having fun yet? I love this shit! I know we're breaking all the rules, but I'd like to do one more... there are so many..."

 

He closes with a note-perfect version of WHY CANT THIS BE LOVE. "SEE YOU IN CABO"

 

He may dance like a Dad at a wedding, but he's having fun and it's a great start to the night.

 

 

 

I have loved Aerosmith forever and this is my second year in a row I have managed to catch them at the MGM in Vegas, this year I am in the cheap seats though and I sit back with a couple of beers not quite in nose-bleed land but at the front of the second tier of seating. Wherever you are in the venue though you get a pretty good view of the stage and as Sammy has already told us this looks like a 10,000 sell-out.

 

Nothing beats the anticipation of the big black sheet with the Aerosmith logo on being drawn up at the front of the stage and when the first sounds and the opening thrust of TRAIN KEPT A ROLLIN come from behind the sheet, that is then hastily whipped away the crowd goes wild. For me there is no better opening to an Aerosmith show than TRAIN. Steven is sporting a funky gold lame top hat and tails tonight and Joe has his hair cut short and is chewing gum as they launch into LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR and we really get to see what this years stage set can do as the mechanics of the whole thing go into overdrive with banks of lights and ten small video-screens constantly on the move and two big screens giving the crowd the close up action. It's an amazing spectacle and perhaps even has a bit more whizz and colour to last years set which I guess this essentially is.

 

 

ELEVATOR has the first elongated jam of the evening and its great to see the band looking so relaxed and that Tom is back striding the stage after his surgery last year. The Elevator Girls fill the video screens and most of the crowd are up and dancing even back here! Never being a band who like lengthy banter with the crowd we are straight into FALLING IN LOVE and the stage is lit like flames.

 

EAT THE RICH follows which has never been a particular favouriteof mine before Steven says "Excuse me while I whip this this thing out" and proceeds to produce a harmonica from his inside pocket and we are into a very pink stage for a great version of PINK. Joe Perry pulls out his double neck for LIVIN' ON THE EDGE and after a Keys interlude to introduce RUSS we get on of the highlights of the night: a great accapella start to WHAT IT TAKES, which has to be one of the best versions I have heard of the song, and lets us know that Steven's voice is in great shape.

 

"Rumours are true" Tyler teases when the song finishes "I am pregnant with Joe Perry's baby". Before we tear into MAMA KIN, it may not be quite as memorable as last year when Slash joined them on stage on his birthday for the same song,but it's always a treat to hear, and backed up with LAST CHILD it keeps us old-timers happy.

 

CRYING just has to be one of the best Aerosmith live songs ever. It may be sentimental, it may be written with the assistance of outside writers but there's just something about it that never fails to get everyone singing along.

 

There's never too much to like about drum solos for me but this year we got Kottack's Attack with the Scorpions which mixed it up some and had an amusing video in the background of John recreating Scorpions album covers, now we have Joey in fluro green tank top and pink drums, playing-up a storm, at one point joined by Steven Tyler and rounding out playing with his fists. OK it's still a drum solo but it is entertaining...

 

 

What we get next is a song I always love live LORD OF THE THIGHS, which so completely plays to the bands many strengths. The Joe Perry 'Guitar Hero' guitar duel that follows is getting a bit old now, sure it was a reasonable enough slant on the rock concert staple to begin with and must make Mr Perry a few dollars but if Mr Perry looks any more bored he'll be falling asleep. I for one will be happy to see what he conjours up once free of contractual obligations...

 

I never particularly liked STOP MESSIN' AROUND but it's been a staple of the live set for years now and to be honest I'm not sure why, though tonight at least Tyler joins in on harp. I just find myself listing all of the classics we could be listening to instead. Saying that the band themselves seem to be enjoying themselves and despite the dramas that have happened in the year since I saw them last they still put on a great show.

 

The iphones and lighters are held aloft as they move into I DON'T WANNA MISS A THING which always worries me that they won't play DREAM ON later, still it's big crowd pleaser.


Then comes the set of songs that along with the encores really affirm why I love this band so much SWEET EMOTION was always going to be an emotional return and it's great to see Tom back in action, stalking the stage and playing that iconic riff. The orgasmic closing stages sees the band as frenetic as they have been all night and we're straight into BABY PLEASE DON'T GO which to be frank comes as a complete surprise but works brilliantly between Emotion and the first song I ever heard by Aerosmith which comes next, DRAW THE LINE. I almost spill my beer, it's been so long since I heard this live and it's still a favourite. I wait and wait until it gets to the bit that Steven screams and you know what, he almost nails that bit better than I've ever heard! We close with Tyler dancing with microphone like a dervish, Perry whipping his perspex guitar in a frenzy and it's "Good night Vegas". The boys from Boston have delivered big time in the city of Sin...

 

Any band that caN ENCORE with a trifecta of: DREAM ON, WALK THIS WAY and TOYS IN THE ATTIC is a legend. And Aerosmith finish up with a blur of the three most perfect songs to end a concert. This is the best I have seen Aerosmith in years and one of the best concerts I have seen in a long time.

 

Mark

 

Sammy Hagar & The Wabos

Setlist

ONE WAY TO ROCK
CAN'T DRIVE 55
STANDING ON TOP OF THE WORLD (?)
SPACE STATION NUMBER 5 / ROCK CANDY (A Montrose mash)
BAD MOTOR SCOOTER
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
EVERYTHING FOR YOU
MONEY TALKS
RIGHT NOW
ONE WAY TICKET/DESPERATION
MAS TEQUILA
WHY CANT THIS BE LOVE

AEROSMITH

SETLIST

Train Kept A Rollin'
Love in an Elevator
Fallin' in love
Eat the Rich
Pink
Livin' on the Edge
What it Takes
Mama Kin
Last Child
Cryin'
Joey drum solo
Lord of the thighs
Joe Perry, guitar hero guitar solo
Stop messin' around
I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing
Sweet Emotion
Baby please dont go
Draw the Line

ENCORE

Dream On
Walk This Way
Toys In The Attic