Six Aerosmiths: Limos, Lawns, & License Plates

smitthh

Over the last few years, I have seen Aerosmith six times. With nine different people. In two states. At four different venues, including a street. Here are my stories. Everything I remember, and a few things I don’t, about six incredible concerts, and six even better memories.

The first time I saw Aerosmith was September 28th, 2006. It was also my first concert, period. The show was opened (sorta co-headlined, but not really) by Mötley Crüe. The Crüe were pretty good. I remember that they opened with “Dr. Feelgood,” easily their best song, and they showed pictures of then-President Bush during “Shout at the Devil.” Very apropos.

The group for this show was myself, my friends Jeff and Maria, and my brother Tim. Our ride: a mother effing limo. Jeff was the oldest, at the ripe old age of 16, but hadn’t yet reached the age where you can drive other people. So we somehow managed to get a limo. Yeah. The set list was incredible. The show started with “Toys in the Attic,” “Mama Kin,” and “S.O.S. (Too Bad).” They also did “Dirty Water” (for only the second time ever live), “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way,” and a rare gem, “Seasons of Wither.” There’s something very special about seeing a favorite artist for the first time. Every song is special. It was also at this concert that I first smelled the funky sweet smell of wacky tobaccy. It was a real rock and roll concert. I kinda can’t believe my parents let me go. And Tim was only 13. He also made friends with a bunch of drunk guys who kept calling him their “little buddy.” Whoops.

On the way home, we had the limo driver take us through the drive-thru at Wendy’s. The height of class.

Just under a year later, we saw Aerosmith again on September 14, 2007. This time the cast of characters was once again myself, Jeff, Maria, and Tim, as well as our friends Joan and Boho. Joan Jett was supposed to be the opening act, but on the way to the show, we heard on the radio that she cancelled, and we got James Montgomery instead. Thus began a long running joke– that night, we said that if “Aerosmith doesn’t play ‘Dream On’, James Montgomery gets it!”

That has stuck as a joke/threat for every concert since. In jest, of course.

Montgomery himself was a little bit dull, although he played very well. Plus, he’s well-regarded locally, which is pretty cool. When Aerosmith came on, they were once again incredible. The ladies of our group made friends with two Columbian men, Carlo and Evan, (Pronounced E-Von) who sat in the row behind us. Some hilarious, bi-lingual flirting went on throughout the night.  This time, I believe, we took the Eggplant, my wonderful, late minivan. I remember listening to the entire show’s set-list on ZLX in the parking lot afterwards, because it took an hour and a half to get out of the venue.

The show itself was, of course, great. A few of the highlights: “What It Takes,” “Hangman Jury,” “Movin’ Out,” and “Walkin’ the Dog.” Plus a ton of the hits and classics. At the end of the show, Joey Kramer played an epic drum solo, which was apparently the first time he had done that since 1994.

Our third ‘Smith show was different for a few reasons: it was in the summer instead of the fall, and it was our first show at the newly-renamed “Comcast Center”. (A side note: I’ve had conversations with my family where I will call it “the Tweeter Center,” my younger sister will call it “the Comcast Center,” and my parents will call it “Great Woods.”) It was also the longest gap between shows up to that point: this one was on June 16, 2009. Also, for the first time, we had lawn seats, which meant we didn’t have seats. We were out on the grass.

This show was also special because the band played their classic album Toys in the Attic in its entirety. Doing so shook up the entire set, which was really cool. It was fun to hear “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion” as part of the regular set instead of closers or encores. We had another opening act bail, as this time ZZ Top jumped ship. The replacement, local band the Dropkick Murphy’s, were a perfect complement to Aerosmith. And the end of the show, the Dropkicks took the stage with Aerosmith to do a jam on “Dirty Water”. There were audio problems at first, but it was crazy to see the two best Boston bands of all time on one stage.

Also, a strange kernel of memory: on the way out, a nasty little sports car refused to let us out of our spot in the parking lot. Much later, we somehow got ahead of that car, which at the time felt like the coolest thing in the world.

Later that summer, drummer Joey Kramer released his autobiography Hit Hard. His book tour went through Boston, so of course Maria and I went. We ended up getting a parking ticket, but it was worth every penny because we got to meet Joey Kramer!
joey

A year later, Aerosmith’s only Boston date was at Fenway Park. All of their fair weather fans came out of the woodwork to see that “historic” show, so we couldn’t get tickets. Still wanting to go, we decided to get tickets to their next closest gig: New York.

We got either three or four tickets, but only Maria and I ended up going. We took a late bus to NYC, and stayed with my friend DJ, who was living at my at my school, Manhattan College, for the summer. When we got to campus some time around 1 AM, we bumped into an old friend of mine who hit on Maria in Spanish. This seemed to be a recurring element of seeing Aerosmith.

The next morning, we made the long trek to Jones Beach on Long Island. Our journey included a taxi, a subway, a train, lots of walking, and several buses. We got pretty lost trying to navigate the suburban bus infrastructure, but a nice bus driver went off his route to help us out. At one point, we were on a main road, and Joe Perry’s tour bus, decked out with a huge “Guitar Hero” cartoon of himself, drove right by us. Like maroons, we jumped up and down waving our arms trying to flag down the guitarist’s bus. I even tweeted at him asking for a ride.

Finally, when we were on the final bus of our journey, a possibly homeless/definitely creepy dude kept talking to us. When we told him we were going to see Aerosmith, he proceeded to sing, awfully, a bunch of their songs. Loudly. And of course he kept flirting with Maria, who, thinking fast, told him her name was Carol and she was from the Bronx. When we finally made it to the amphitheater, we somehow went in a back entrance, sold the extra tickets we had, and enjoyed the show. We missed most of the opening act, but it was Sammy Hagar, so yeah.

Two years and a bunch of band drama later, the Bad Boys From Boston were once again going on tour. When tickets went on sale, I did something pretty stupid. At best it was wishful thinking, at worst, hubris. Either way, I had thought that I would be living and working in New York, so that’s where I bought tickets for. Of course, by the time of the concert on July 1, 2012, I was sleeping on a bunk bed in Stoughton, MA. Life’s a funny thing. Still, I had four tickets to see Aerosmith in New York. Whoops.

The tickets were bought, originally, for myself, Jeff, Maria, and Joan, but each of the three had to drop out for various reasons. The crew ended up being me, my good friends Pete and Katie, and Katie’s boyfriend Mike. We drove up in Pete’s car, and made a day trip out of it. It was interesting because that group of people had never spent that much time together, just the four of us. It ended up being a ton of fun, however. We had lunch at a Five Guys in Connecticut, had supper at a Chipotle on Long Island, and played a wicked intense round of the License Plate game. We found 38 states!

smith1

Our seats at Nassau Coliseum were pretty terrible, and we could barely hear opening act Cheap Trick. But Aerosmith had much better  sound, and were, as always, magnificent.  I noticed something interesting at this show: when you’ve seen a band so many times, you look for different things in a set. It’s cool to hear the hits, and even the classics, but you get most excited to hear a deep cut, something they don’t play much, or a personal favorite that you haven’t heard yet. For this show, the band broke out “No More No More,” “Big Ten Inch Record,” and “Combination,” which were all cool to hear. The cream of the crop for me was “Chip Away At The Stone,” a 1978 gem that they’ve only played a handful of times. They also played a couple of tracks from their upcoming album, which were fun to listen to.

On the drive back, we went through Mianus, CT. Being mature, college educated adults, we didn’t make any jokes about going through Mianus, or running for the mayor of Mianus, or about the community in Mianus. Very mature. Of course.

My sixth and most recent Aerosmith show was a solo venture, and a very unique one. On November 5, 2012, the band played in the street outside of 1325 Comm Ave. in Boston, the apartment they lived in during the genesis of the band. They played inside of a truck, and set list was entirely made up of songs from either the ’70s or 2012. They did “Lover Alot,” from their new album, for the first time live. They also did a bunch of songs from their first album, as well as “Back in the Saddle,” which although they play pretty frequently, I had somehow not heard live until then. They also did “Mama Kin,” one of my favorites, which I hadn’t heard since that first limo-taking, weed-smelling show back when I was 16.  The next day, Joey Kramer retweeted my tweet about the show. #Winning.

So that is my account of six Aerosmith shows. Here’s to the seventh!

UPDATE: This summer, Joe Perry tweeted at me. It was glorious.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Pingback: Connecting Art

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s