Saturday, April 16, 2011

Aerosmith - August 13, 2002

Aerosmith, Kid-Rock, and Run DMC. With that lineup, how could I not attend this concert? In 2002, Aerosmith announced that they would embark on a summer tour in continued support of Just Push Play. They were taking two other phenomenal groups on the road with them---Run DMC and Kid Rock. This was one concert where I definitely did not want to miss the opening act.

I don’t know how I was able to get them, but the seats my wife at the time (Nancy) and I sat in were incredible. They were approximately 15 rows from the stage on the left side of the amphitheater. These were some of the best seats I had ever sat in at the PNC Bank Arts Center. I just knew it was going to be a good night.

Run DMC came on stage first and performed to a pretty full house. It was obvious that a lot of the Aerosmith fans in attendance were fans of Run DMC as well. This concert took place a few months before Jam Master Jay’s death. It was one of the last concerts that Run DMC ever performed.

I had never seen Run DMC in concert before. I had never even seen a hip-hop/rap group live before. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Run DMC, Public Enemy, N.W.A., and other hip-hop artists of the times, but never attended their concerts. Getting a chance to see one of the legendary rap groups perform live before one of my all time favorite bands was a real treat.

Run DMC was a delight in the live setting. Jam Master Jay had an excellent DJ set up. With him spinning the jams in the background, Run and DMC strutted all over the stage, rapping the lyrics to most of their well known tunes like “My Adidas” and “It’s Tricky”. “Walk This Way” was not performed during their opening set for obvious reasons. When Run DMC left the stage, I was beyond happy. They gave a great performance and reminded New Jersey why they have always been considered the greatest hip-hop act in the history of rap.

I was really excited to see Kid Rock live for the first time. I had gotten into his music heavily the prior year and played Devil Without A Cause constantly. I was curious about which songs he would play in the limited amount of time he had to perform. I believe his total allotment was approximately 50 minutes.

Kid Rock was touring behind Cocky and the recent repackaging of his older material, The History Of Rock, which included the smash single, “American Bad Ass.” I don’t remember what song he opened with, but I do recall the highlights of his set pretty well. “Cowboy” was played as well as “Bawitdaba” and “Forever.” The aforementioned “American Bad Ass” was also played and performed with a ferocious intensity that really showed what Kid Rock could do on a stage.

During the performance of “Devil Without A Cause” a poster of Joe C fell from the rafters during the lines that he sang on the studio version of the song. His vocals were played via recording and then Kid Rock finished the song. It was a pretty cool moment and it was nice to remember Joe C, who was missed.

The one disappointment I had with Kid Rock’s set was his decision to do a medley of songs that included the mega hit, “Picture.” Since he was pressed for time as an opening act, Kid Rock strung five or six of his more known songs together for this medley. I was hoping to hear the full version of some of these tracks, especially “Picture,” but it was not to be. Time constraints would reject this.

After a great performance from Run DMC, and an amazing show from Kid Rock, Aerosmith took the stage in fine fashion. And by fine, I do mean F.I.N.E. fine. Opening with the best one-two combination in the history of rock, Aerosmith kicked off the night with “Young Lust” and followed it with “F.I.N.E.” just like it is on Pump. I was pumped. “F.I.N.E.” is perhaps my all time favorite Aerosmith song and I’ve always felt that “Young Lust” into “F.I.N.E.” was an excellent combination. Aerosmith should play these two together more often.

The set list for this evening was chock full of hits old and new to the delight of most fans. “Toys In The Attic,” “Rag Doll,” “Cryin’,” “Mama Kin,” and “Jaded” were all performed in only the way that Aerosmith can perform them. During this tour, Aerosmith was playing “The Theme From Spider-Man” which had been featured on the Spider-Man soundtrack which was released that summer. I thought it was a nice addition for them to play that song. They did an excellent version, and as far as I know, this is the only tour that “The Theme From Spider-Man” was ever played.

Joe Perry got to step up to the microphone for one song. He performed lead vocals for “Stop Messin’ Around,” which would eventually be included on the 2004 release Honkin’ On Bobo. While I love him as a guitarist, I was never a huge fan of Joe Perry the singer. Stick to what you are really good at, Joe. In your case, that would be guitar. Leave the vocals to Steven Tyler.

The encore was slightly different from other Aerosmith concerts I have attended, but the opening song of the encore was the moment of the evening. For the first song of the encore, Aerosmith came back on stage to the opening notes of “Walk This Way.” As anticipated, Run DMC followed them onstage to perform the song with them. And then an extra special guest walked out onstage as well. It was none other than Kid Rock.

Steven Tyler, Kid Rock, Daryl Mc Daniels, and Rev. Run Simmons were all on stage singing “Walk This Way” while Joe Perry and Brad Whitford wailed away on the guitar and Jam Master Jay scratched out the mix. In all of the concerts that I have attended throughout my life, this had to be the coolest moment I’ve ever witnessed live. It was definitely the best live version of “Walk This Way” I’ve ever heard.

Aerosmith thanked their special guests after a stellar performance of “Walk This Way” and then ended their night with two more fan favorites. “Love In An Elevator” and “Train Kept A Rollin’” were the final songs of the evening. While they didn’t even come close to matching the awesomeness of “Walk This Way,” they were still great performances. It was yet again another dominating Aerosmith concert. It was also a show I was glad to have shelled out the money for.

Young Lust
Toys In The Attic
Sweet Emotion
Monkey On My Back
Rag Doll
Stop Messin’ Around
Mama Kin
I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
The Other Side
Theme From Spider Man
Dude Looks Like A Lady
Walk This Way
Love In An Elevator
Train Kept A Rollin’

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