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 with SAMMY HAGAR & THE WABOS
Air Canada Centre Toronto, August 17 2010

 

 

A few years ago I had a ticket to see Aerosmith for the first time; they were headlining the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London in 2007. Living in Australia all of my life up until 2006 I’d never been in a position to see Aerosmith, among many other bands, and to have a ticket in hand I was pumped to say the least. Then literally a few days after receiving my ticket in the mail, Iron Maiden announced that they would play a benefit show for ex Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr. Even though I had just seen Iron Maiden a week earlier at Donington the opportunity to see them in a club (Brixton Academy) with a maximum capacity of less than 5,000 was too good an opportunity to turn down.


I still remember how hard that decision was to make and although the Maiden show was one of my favourite shows of all time, there have been times over the last few years that I wished I had stuck with seeing Aerosmith instead. Less than six months ago I began coming to terms with the reality that there was almost no chance I was ever going to see Aerosmith. Then one night I woke up at 3AM to check the 2010 Donington headliners announcement to find that the rumours (which I thought were extremely full of shit) were actually true. Aerosmith was set to headline Download 2010! So it was set I was to return to the Heavy Metal Mecca which is Donington, England.


Much to my appreciation not only did I finally get to see Aerosmith this year, I also got to see them for a second time, this time in a hockey arena in Toronto. Unfortunately Aerosmith tickets are hot property even more so at this point in their career and even though I got my tickets through a pre-sale and paid about $250 each for them I still managed to get pretty average seats for the price. But at least I didn’t have to buy them off a tout.


We managed to get our tour merch in time to catch Sammy Hagar & The Wabos. I can’t say I’ve heard much of Hagar’s solo stuff but I was still very keen on seeing his show, and obviously hoping for a few Van Halen tracks. Hagar’s stage is set up like a beach bar in Mexico advertising his brand of Tequila and Restaurant/Nightclub chain ‘Cabo Wabo’. The crowd was probably at about half capacity and apart from the first few rows there weren’t a lot of people I could see getting into the show.


Hagar spoke to the crowd a fair bit, handed out drinks and at one stage took a fans shirt from the front row and wore it during one of his songs before signing it and handing it back to the fan. Hagar told Toronto (as I’m sure he told every city on this tour) how much he loved the city and then apologised to anyone that might have bumped into him drunk in the streets in the early hours of the morning before (on cue) asking one of the girls at the side of the stage to bring him a hair of the dog.


Surprisingly to me Hagar ventured out onto the ramp of the stage that went into the crowd. Allegedly only a few days earlier in Boston Steven Tyler and Peter Wolf (J.Geils Band) argued after Tyler told Wolf he didn’t want him using their ramp during the J.Geils Band performance, which resulted in the two bands not performing together as previously arranged.


After a few solo songs we got a couple of Montrose tracks in SPACE STATION #5 and BAD MOTOR SCOOTER, the first being introduced as a dedication to when Hagar first met Aerosmith back in ’73 on tour in Detroit.

 


As I said I’ve not heard much solo Hagar stuff so when he finally introduced the first of three Van Halen songs of the night BEST OF BOTH WORLDS I began to have a good time. Unfortunately, and I hate to put a downer on it for those that enjoyed it, but the version of RIGHT NOW that they played was horrible. The song is a great song, and is slow and light as it is, but the band slowed it down even more, which might have been alright for the first verse or so... but for the whole song?? I found this a little strange and disappointing especially for a band that was supposed to warm a crowd up for Aerosmith and also considering the song was probably one of only two songs everyone in the audience knew.


Fortunately for me at least Hagar made it up closing the set with a great performance of WHY CAN’T THIS BE LOVE. To me there wasn’t enough Van Halen to make the show interesting for me, but I’m sure to others there was probably too much; I know if I saw Vince Neil solo I wouldn’t want to hear any Motley Crue.

 

SAMMY HAGAR & THE WABOS SETLIST:-
ONE WAY TO ROCK
I CAN’T DRIVE 55
TOP OF THE WORLD
SPACE STATION #5
ROCK CANDY
BAD MOTOR SCOOTER
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
THREE LOCK BOX
RIGHT NOW
FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED
HEAVY METAL
MAS TEQUILA
WHY CAN'T THIS BE LOVE

During a brief changeover the huge banner with the Aerosmith logo dropped in front of the stage. As the lights dimmed and the house music got louder, suddenly and strangely the music changed to a rap song. I told my girlfriend that they play this because it is crap music and when you hear crap before good, the good sounds even better. In this case the curtain fell and Aerosmith were already delivering the good with TRAIN KEPT A ROLLIN.

 


The band, especially Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, were dressed to impress. In the best way possible Tyler looked like a glamorous hobo dancing away on the stage swinging his mic stand around. What a great song to start the show off, and what pleased me even more is that I knew even if it’s not a lot, at least I was going to get some variations to the set that they played at Donington a couple months back.

 


Next up: LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR. Aerosmith were in top form, despite any troubles they have had of late, including alleged turmoil in the band over rumours of Tyler joining the American Idol judging panel. The band, especially Tyler and Perry, looked and sounded as tight as ever and if you hadn’t read the tabloids you wouldn’t have known there had been any problems at all. About half way through the song Tyler and Perry came out to the crowd on the ramp and Tyler gave Perry a little bit of a love bump, Perry checked his back and gave one right back to Tyler who then fell right into the arms of a few girls at the front of the stage. My eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped; last time Tyler fell off the stage just last year and broke his shoulder and Aerosmith were forced to cancel the rest of their tour, which eventually almost led to the demise of the band. I was so worried that it was about to happen all over again. But then Tyler is helped onto the stage by a few fans and Perry where he got up and continued the show. “It ain’t gonna happen again baby” Tyler told Perry and the crowd. Smiles were back on the faces of the audience and Tyler got straight back into it as if nothing ever happened. Regardless of what the tabloids say there is no doubt in my mind that Tyler falling off the stage was unintentional, Tyler and Perry might not be on the best of terms at the moment, but what does Perry have to gain from Tyler hurting himself again with a month of touring still to go?

 


We then got a couple more great tracks in FALLIN IN LOVE, LIVIN ON THE EDGE, and a great live version of WHAT IT TAKES. The stage then turned pink and we were treated to a great version of the song PINK. Next song up was probably one of my favourites of the night, off the ROCKS album LAST CHILD.


We get another great track CRYIN’ and then a drum solo from Joey Kramer. Drum solos for me have the potential to get me yawning, but not this time. Kramer did a great job with a little help from Tyler at one point. Eventually throwing his sticks out to the crowd and finished off the solo with his fists and fake head butts.

 

Next up was another one of my favourites of the night: RAG DOLL. Then for the first time of the night I actually did find myself yawning during Perry’s Guitar Hero Battle. This is probably the only thing about this show that wasn’t a complete success. It might be interesting for the kids seeing Perry in real life battling against his Guitar Hero character but to me it would have been better included in a song rather than introduced, and taking up so much time that could have been taken up by another song.
Perry announced that he won the guitar battle against his cartoon self and as a reward got to play some blues. From the HONKIN’ ON BOBO album we got the Fleetwood Mac cover STOP MESSIN’ AROUND. Not one of my favourite Aerosmith tracks to see live but none the less it is great music and gave the band a chance to play some blues which they seem to enjoy.


Next up was I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING. During the song some meathead steroid freak in the crowd must have been worried that his masculinity was being challenged by the ballad and much to our disgust made his way towards the stage abusing Tyler. He actually got pretty close to the stage and I was pretty pissed off that the security guards let him get so close before doing anything. Not sure if Tyler noticed him or not but he didn’t show any signs of noticing it and eventually security worked up enough numbers and balls to eject the guy who shouldn’t have been at an Aerosmith concert at all if he was scared of hearing ballads.

 


Next we got another cover, this time the Beatles classic COME TOGETHER, which was a good surprise and very well received even if not everyone in the audience was too familiar with the song. Incidentally we were at this very venue only a week earlier to see Paul McCartney. To round off the show we got SWEET EMOTION, BABY PLEASE DON’T GO and the classic DRAW THE LINE.
Everyone waited for the inevitable encore which was sure to include and did include DREAM ON and WALK THIS WAY. Unfortunately they didn’t play TOYS IN THE ATTIC as they had closed with at Donington but regardless I couldn’t ask for a much better show than the one we got. When I saw them at Donington it had been raining pretty much the whole day, I was drenched to the bone and was standing in a cocktail of mud and piss, so it was a bit easier to get comfortable at the indoor arena in Toronto and the sound was 100 times better.


Despite of all the talk of Aerosmith possibly coming towards an end they are in absolute top form and it’s not often you see a performance as good as these guys give. If sadly they were to come to an end after this tour at least they will be going out on a high note. At least they have come back in 2010 to finish off what they couldn’t in 2009. I hope this isn’t the last time I get to see Aerosmith; they surely are one of a kind.

 

AEROSMITH SETLIST:-
TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN'
LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR
FALLING IN LOVE (IS HARD ON THE KNEES)
LIVIN' ON THE EDGE
WHAT IT TAKES
PINK
LAST CHILD
CRYIN'
DRUM SOLO
RAG DOLL
JOE PERRY GUITAR BATTLE
STOP MESSIN' AROUND
I DON'T WANT TO MISS A THING
COME TOGETHER
SWEET EMOTION
BABY, PLEASE DON'T GO
DRAW THE LINE

ENCORE:

DREAM ON
WALK THIS WAY

David Carruthers