It was a paparazzi's dream last night as Ron Jeremy, Johnny Depp, Seth Green, Liv Tyler, Jim Carrey, and nearly 18,000 others watched Aerosmith bring their Global Warming Tour to the Hollywood Bowl. The parking lot was taken over by tailgaters in the hours leading up to the show. Fans arrived decked out in the most vintage Aerosmith t-shirts that they could wrangle up.
As people chugged the last of their preshow drinks, the restroom lines at the bottom of the hill became intense. (I recommend not trying to sneak into the men's bathroom to get things moving along faster, if you're a lady.)
The Bowl bouncers executed thorough pat downs — even Liv Tyler was asked to empty the contents of her backpack onto a table before reaching the ticket scanning station. Inside, the venue was packed. There wasn't a seat to spare – from the tiny orchestra pit that surrounded the stage's miniature catwalk to the very top of the hill's bleacher seats. Cheap Trick kicked things off around 7:30 pm, playing a catalog of old timers including “I Want You to Want Me,” and “Surrender.” Twenty minutes later the lights dimmed and Stan Lee appeared in a video. A minute later, “The Bad Boys from Boston” came out with the actual Stan Lee who walked the catwalk and announced the band.
Joey Kramer jumped behind his drum kit in what was possibly the sparkliest shirt imaginable, Tom Hamilton picked up the bass, Brad Whitford got into position, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry took to the catwalk – Tyler in a hat, sunglass, and shiny cape and Perry rocking a flashy green jacket. The set kicked off with “Draw The Line” and transitioned into “Love in an Elevator,” “Same Old Song And Dance” and “Livin' On The Edge.” The band greeted the crowd and continued on with a slew of classics from albums like Rocks, Get Your Wings, and Toys in the Attic – a treat for the aging rockers that made up the majority of the audience.
The band was as polished as ever, Perry delivered sassy guitar solos as Tyler pranced around the stage, twirling his scarf-adorned jeweled mic stand (which said “Lick Me” on the bottom) and teasing the ladies that had made their way up to the front row. Towards the end of the show, the singer engaged in some playful banter with an audience member, chirping, “Sir, are you sitting? Are you fucking sitting? What do you have hemorrhoids? Get up!” At one point, Perry took center stage to sing “Stop Messin' Around” as Tyler went behind the amps to hold down the back up vocals along with the band's two female singers.
Other highlights of the set were Tyler jumping on the drums during Kramer's solo, Perry whipping out the lap steel for “Rag Doll,” and Tyler's acappella introduction to “What it Takes.” Aerosmith also debuted a new sound from their upcoming Music From Another Dimension, titled “Oh Yeah” and played their current single, “Legendary Child.” Kramer's son, Jesse Kramer, made several appearances on stage, joining the band on a second drum kit for “Combination” and “Sweet Emotion.”
The set ended with “Walk This Way” and Tyler commanding the audience to wildly wave their hands in unison – “Put your hands put your hands in the air, put your hands in the air.”
If you didn't stick around for the encore, you missed out. The band arrived back on stage with Perry in an ab-revealing sleeveless shirt (which nobody was complaining about). Tyler sat at a piano at the end of the catwalk and delivered a powerful opening to “Dream On” before abandoning the piano to grab his mic stand to bring the tune home. He then grinned, looked at the crowd and said, “Hey Joe Perry. Do you think we need a little help up here?” Johnny Depp appeared on stage as Tyler yelled “Johnny Depp in the house.” Depp joined Perry and Whitford on guitar for “Train Kept A Rollin.” While Depp appeared slightly amateur next to Perry, he took some solos and won over the crowd (the guys at least – the girls would have been happy with him standing still on stage).
Personal Bias: I've seen Aerosmith live more times than I should probably admit and last night's set list was probably one of my favorites. They played their first single in over ten years, “Legendary Child,” debuted another new one “Oh Yeah” and kept the rest of the focus on classics that reached back decades. I was also glad to not have to hear that Armageddon tune, “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing.”
Random notebook dump: The Steven Tyler groupies were in full force last night – ladies in miniature tank tops and push up bras crammed up against the stage's catwalk were ready to scratch your eye out if you so much as stole an inch of their real estate, the queen of them relentlessly waved a homemade sign (that she clearly spent hours making) that read: “Steven, whip me!”
The Crowd: A mix of old school rocker dudes and biker chicks wearing vintage Aerosmith t-shirts who have probably been seeing the band live since before I was born, hot chicks who hoped to make eye contact with Steven Tyler, and a crowd of rock 'n' roll lovers that stood somewhere in between the two extremes
Set list below:
Draw The Line
Love In An Elevator
Same Old Song And Dance
Livin' On The Edge
Peter Gunn Theme/Boogie Man
Stop Messin' Around
What It Takes
Rats In The Cellar
Walk This Way
Train Kept A Rollin'