Saturday, February 12, 2011

Aerosmith - November 15, 2001

In the months following 9/11, the concert scene was strange. A lot of people stopped attending shows as several citizens were afraid to venture outside of their house. I first noticed this at the Jane’s Addiction concert I attended in October of 2001. It was the first concert I saw post 9/11 and I did not like the empty seats that greeted the band. It was sad.

When Aerosmith showed up to rock the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, I figured it would be a much different scene. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. While not empty by any stretch of the imagination, the concert was far from sold out. And that’s a real shame. The band was promoting one of their best albums ever (Just Push Play) and their concerts for that tour were receiving rave reviews. Still, not everyone turned up to see the show.

One of the most surreal things about attending this concert was the fact that I had just lost my job earlier that week. The company that I worked for was having vast financial issues and there were layoffs a-plenty. I had survived several rounds of cuts (thanks to my low salary), but as the company dwindled to less than 20 employees (from a high of 95), even I could no longer be sustained. After returning from a business trip that weekend, a group of us were called into the VPs office and handed an envelope. It was over. The company would close their doors for good about 6 months later.

None of that stopped me from going to see the Bad Boys of Boston. I already had the tickets, so what the heck? What else was I going to do with my time? I looked for Aerosmith to lift my spirits that evening and transport me away to a magical world where there were no worries. The band was more than happy to oblige.

Opening with Beyond Beautiful, the first cut from their new album, Aerosmith came out guns a-blazing and guitars a-crazing. From the moment they pounced onto the stage, I knew it was going to be a fantastic night. Aerosmith is best known for mixing up their setlists, trying to perform a different show every evening, so there was no telling what they would perform. Was it going to be all recent material? Would the band perform a set of classics? Could they reach deep into the archives to find that one rare gem that almost never saw the light of a live performance? That’s part of what makes an Aerosmith concert so special – there’s no telling what songs are going to be played.

The first real treat for me was Big Ten Inch Record. This is an Aerosmith tune that I have always adored and hearing it in concert made me grin like a school boy. The boogie-woogie beat slapped with the double entandre lyrics makes Big Ten Inch Record a fun song. The live version was no exception.

Since they were supporting a new album, it was expected that we would hear a lot of the new record that night. That was all right by me, because I loved their latest album. In addition to Beyond Beautiful, the band performed lead hit single Jaded, as well as Light Inside, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and the title track, Just Push Play.

While I was hoping to hear Avant Garden or one of the other new ballads from the disc, Aerosmith decided that only classic ballads would work on that evening. Dream On, Pink, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, Cryin’ and What It Takes were our ballads of the night. None of these songs received any complaints from me. Cryin’ and What It Takes were excellent in their live form and found me singing at the top of my lungs, to the point where I was crooning almost as loud as the band. I’m sure the other concert attendees around me didn’t particularly care for that, but I was so lost in the moment, I couldn’t help myself.

The main set ended with a classic double shot of Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion, which had the entire crowd up and rocking like there was no tomorrow. Everyone participated in the chorus sing-along and the band responded with a blistering rendition of the most classic Aerosmith song in their catalog. Sweet emotion, indeed!

The encore consisted of three great tracks: Livin’ On The Edge, What It Takes, and the perennially closer, Train Kept A Rollin’. The encore was as strong as the opener, and the energy levels were still sustained by the band as they closed out the night. While it was disappointing to not see a full house, for the fans who did venture to the show, it was an unbelievable treat.

The band did not turn in a half-assed performance just because of the attendance. They gave it their all, honoring those fans that did show up. And to that, I was grateful. For two hours, Aerosmith made me forget all my worries in life and just had me rocking the night away. It was a moment that would stay with me for weeks to come. Aerosmith blew us all away on that chilled November night and made me wish that I had seen more shows during the Just Push Play tour.

Beyond Beautiful
Love In An Elevator
Big Ten Inch Record
Mama Kin
Light Inside
Dream On
Eat The Rich
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Draw The Line
Lord Of The Thighs
Walking The Dog
Just Push Play
I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
Walk This Way
Sweet Emotion
Livin’ On The Edge
What It Takes
Train Kept A Rollin’

1 comment:

Aerosmith Fan said...

Aerosmith has been around for ages and still rocking. You got t give them credit for keeping it up so long.

Great post I loved reading it.