Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kiss/Aerosmith - November 16, 2003


In the summer/fall of 2003, Kiss and Aerosmith went on tour together in unprecedented fashion. Two rock and roll giants, one amazing double bill. I would see them live at three venues that year. The first two times I saw them were at outdoor venues in New Jersey. The third concert, however, was at The World’s Most Famous Arena, the Mecca of concert halls, Madison Square Garden.

Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about MSG. There is just something special about seeing a concert there. The moments are electrifying and the music is always more intense. It is always a memorable night.

I do not remember who opened for the Madison Square Garden concert, but I know that Kiss was the first headliner as they had been for the entire tour. Each band was playing a slightly scaled down version of their full concert, so they would each perform for about 80 minutes. For Kiss, that meant there would be a few less solos and extended theatrics.


Kiss took to the stage with the opening notes of Detroit Rock City and never looked back from there. Having started their career in New York City, Kiss loved playing to the hometown crowd, and the crowd loved having them there. The 2003 incarnation of Kiss still had Peter Criss on the drums, but Ace Frehley had left the band and was replaced by Tommy Thayer. I always thought that Tommy Thayer was a great guitarist who got a bum rap. I know that the fans really missed Ace and were curious as to why Bruce Kulick wasn’t on stage if Ace would no longer be a part of Kiss, but Tommy Thayer was an excellent replacement. He is an amazing guitar player in his own right that never quite got the respect he deserved, especially not in 2003.

Kiss performed a set of all classics hits, not having any new material to support at that time. Their latest album then was 1998’s Psycho Circus and they had already done their farewell tour in 2001, so a lineup of classic hits coming at you fast and furious was only appropriate.

The third song of the night, Let Me Go Rock And Roll was an amazing performance in classic Kiss style. A long extended jam version, Gene and Paul sounded incredible that night. The vocals were impeccable and the hard rocking music was amazing. Everyone in the Garden had their fists in the air, pumping in time to this early Kiss hit.

The rest of the Kiss set went on in similar fashion. The band performed a tight list of hits, Gene did the patented fire breathing after Firehouse and the blood spitting before God Of Thunder. Paul’s performance on 100,000 Years was as amazing as always, and Black Diamond closed out the main set.

The encore consisted of Peter Criss singing Beth, followed by Love Gun and the final song of the evening, Rock and Roll All Nite. When it was all over, we had a moment to catch our breath. Kiss had finished their portion of the evening, but the night wasn’t over yet. There was still one more amazing band set to take the stage.


Aerosmith were the entertainers for the second half of the night. After about a 20-minute waiting period while the Kiss gear was taken down and the Aerosmith gear went up, the opening riffs of Mama Kin cried out across the Garden and the crowd responded. Aerosmith was a beloved band, almost as much as Kiss. For me, it was an amazing experience to see 2 of my top 5 bands in the same night.

Aerosmith performed differently from Kiss. While the Kiss set list was a predictable affair, I never knew what Aerosmith would play. After Mama Kin as an opener, the rest of the night was a guessing game. Love In An Elevator came next and that was followed by an amazing Toys In The Attic and Pink.

Steven Tyler, front man extraordinaire, was in fine form that mid-November evening. Even in his mid-50s he was performing back flips, front flips, and rocking out like it was the 70s. Tyler has always been an amazing entertainer and this night was nothing different for him. He worked the crowd, belted out his amazing vocal power, and made sure that we all had a great time.

The rest of Aerosmith sounded exceptional as well. Having been together for 30 years, they knew how to perform as a unit. Joe Perry’s guitar sounded as incredible as ever and the rhythm section of Brad Whitford, Joey Crammer, and Tom Hamilton kept perfect time giving the songs balance.

What It Takes was the song of the evening (at least for Aerosmith’s set) for me. It is one of my favorite Aerosmith ballads and a song that I had been listening to for more than a decade. To hear it live was a real treat. Steven made it into a fun sing along, allowing the audience to sing the first verse before he and the band took over and performed an amazing rendition.

New songs were also performed from the then unreleased (but coming soon) Honking On Bobo CD. Joe Perry took over lead vocals on Stop Messin’ Around and the band also performed Baby Please Don’t Go and Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You. The new songs were nice to hear, but I wasn’t sure that Aerosmith should have played 3 of them considering the shortened amount of time they had for the concert.

Classics then closed out the night. Dream On brought roars from the crowd. Same Old Song and Dance was well received, and the ever popular Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion closed out the night. Sweet Emotion sounded amazing (as it always done when performed live) and left us wanting more. Alas, there would be no more on that evening. Aerosmith’s night was over and for me it would be the last time that I saw the band live.

KISS/Aerosmith was quite the double bill and definitely worth the price of admission. $50 to see two of the greatest rock bands in the world? Yes, I would pay that over and over again. Especially if the concert were at Madison Square Garden.

Setlists

KISS
Detroit Rock City
Deuce
Shout It Out Loud
Let Me Go Rock And Roll
Lick It Up
Firehouse
I Love It Loud
I Want You
God Of Thunder
100,000 Years
Black Diamond
Beth
Love Gun
Rock N Roll All Nite

Aerosmith
Mama Kin
Love In An Elevator
Toys In The Attic
Pink
Jaded
Train Kept A Rollin’
What It Takes
Stop Messin’ Around
Baby Please Don’t Go
Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You
Dream On
Same Old Song And Dance
Cryin’
Walk This Way
Sweet Emotion

1 comment:

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