|Vintage Concert Bill: Aerosmith in the '70s|
|Written by Bill Lindsey|
|Sunday, 17 February 2013 03:00|
Many of the bands I loved toured extensively in the '70s so I had the pleasure and good fortune to see them several times in their prime. Aerosmith was no exception. They ALWAYS toured in the U.S. and contrary to some opinions of drug addled performances I NEVER saw a bad Aerosmith show. Each time I saw them they delivered and that's why I will always count these three shows as influential concerts.
Aerosmith/Slade/Thin Lizzy - St. Paul Civic Center - 1st May 1976
This was the first time I had witnessed Aerosmith live in concert. They had become one of my all time favorites after getting 'Toys In The Attic' and 'Get Your Wings' LPs for my birthday the year before.
I had purchased my ticket early and looked at it often as the days approached. Also, not to mention the fact that the first heavy band that really turned me down the primrose path of hard rock/ metal, (a British band by the name of Slade) was one of the support bands. I had a K-tel compilation album called 'Believe In Music' back when I was a dozen years old or so. It was made up of the radio hits at the time like 'Brandy' by Looking Glass and Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May'.
The track 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' was the stand out track for me. For my twelve year old ears at the time this song was the heaviest, most heavenly sounding thing I'd heard up to that point! I played that one song over again and again honing the air guitar skills I still possess today. A friend's older sister had the full length album 'Slayed?' and I had him play it for me most times I went to his house to hang out. Along with Alice Cooper's 'School's Out', Slade and THAT song really put me on track to a lifetime of Heavy Metal bliss.
Also a new band I had been interested in named Thin Lizzy was first up on the bill. The album 'Jailbreak' had just been released and the song 'The Boys Are Back In Town' was on the radio pretty frequently. I was into them and wanted to hear more. I was informed and ready to GO!!
Thin Lizzy opened up the show with police sirens wailing and the song 'Jailbreak'! They blazed through several tracks older and new. I loved them right away and they put forth an energetic set with a black leather clad Phil Lynott in his prime. Twin leads from Scott Gorham (who had the longest hair I'd seen since Neal Smith) and Brian Robertson really gave them a trademark sound that stood out to my young ears. Not to mention Brian Downey was a hell of a drummer!
If THAT wasn't AMAZING enough the lights dimmed a second time for Slade. It was so great to finally see them in the flesh and see their colorful, energetic stage presence. Noddy Holder and Dave Hill were up and in the front row's face with a friendly and warm stage banter that made you like them straight off. I remember 'Cum On Feel The Noize', 'Gudbye T'Jane' and a few tracks off their newest release 'Nobody's Fools'... and then it HAPPENED!! The opening chords for 'Mama...' came ringing out of the P.A., the cymbal crashes sounded like they were made of iron and it was even heavier than the record I loved so much. I went apeshit to say the least!
Now that Slade had finished I was most definitely high on rock 'n' roll! BUT then my senses really started reeling as the area went black and a sound effect of a train picking up speed was piped over the sound system. When I tell you Aerosmith and the St. Paul Civic Center exploded that is an understatement. Everyone in that building was there to see America's newest rising mega-stars. A band in their musical and commercial prime were seizing the moment all across the U.S. in the mid 1970s.
Aerosmith was on FIRE! The album 'Toys In The Attic' was a huge hit and the band were getting set to release another musical slam dunk in 'ROCKS' in just a matter of days. It had not been released yet and I remember Tyler saying this is off our upcoming album 'Rocks' and the song is titled 'Sick As A Dog'.
The band was tight as hell and Perry was cool as could be puffin' on smokes and laying down all the great riffs that I come to know so well. Hearing 'Mama Kin' and 'Lord Of The Thighs' live was jaw dropping for me. Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer were so tight and the arrangements sounded just like the records.
I do not believe I have ever seen Steven Tyler so animated and wound up as on this magic night in '76. Dress in a red and black trimmed satin suit he had the audience from the get go and never let up during the entire show. As a matter of fact he seemed to get more wild as the set progressed. Jumping. spinning, running back and forth and whipping his trademark scarf festooned mic stand around like a coat rack in a cyclone!
Finally for an encore a huge flash pot ignited and a giant light up "A" descended from the lighting rig and 'Toys In The Attic' ripped our faces clean off.
After the concert I felt like I had been intravenously fed coffee, sugar and speed straight through an IV! I could not stand still and jumped around on the bus stop like an atomic madman waiting for the ride home. I could not sleep for hours and the only thing in my system was a peanut-butter sandwich and one of the most high energy shows EVER!
That Aerosmith show in 1976 will always be in my top concerts until my time of dying.
Aerosmith/Nazareth - St. Paul Civic Center - 12th November 1977
This show was on my birthday in that year and I believe I talked my folks into getting me the ticket for a gift. I had already been into Nazareth, owning 'Hair Of The Dog'. But this was the first time I would be seeing them live. They were GREAT! Catchy and Heavy with songs like 'Beggar's Day', 'Hair Of The Dog' and 'Razamanaz', plus the not so heavy AM radio hit 'Love Hurts' which seemed to be the song everyone knew them by at the time. Dan McCafferty possesses such a great and emotional voice that can be screaming or heartfelt whenever he chooses. In years to come I would think Brian Johnson who had just replaced my hero Bon Scott sounded a lot like Dan Mc.
A black curtain was drawn as Nazareth's's gear was being dragged of the stage and the tension started to build for the headliners who I may have mentioned earlier were one of my all time favorites. Aerosmith for the second time was still magical to me and they were preforming new songs from the upcoming release 'Draw The Line'. That title track was an instant hit with me and is still one of my very favorite Asmith tracks. I loved it on the spot!! Joe P. in a polka-dot jacket and Tyler in a vest, ripped jeans, scarves and knee high boots that kicked my ass once again!
Each time I'd see Aerosmith in these formative years of mine my love for them grew stronger and stronger.
***One aside note is if you look inside the booklet for Aerosmith's latest release 'Muisc From Another Dimension' there is a collage in the middle. If you look among the artifacts you see a ticket stub for this very show I attended on my birthday in '77. I thought that was pretty cool and considerate of them to add that :)
Aerosmith/Exile - St. Paul Civic Center - 14th October 1978
On this night in October '78 I got main floor seats for my third experience seeing Boston's Aerosmith. Exile was probably one of the LAMEST support bands I had ever seen! They had a weak tit hit called 'Kiss You All Over' and they had no stage presence or anything going on as far as stand out musicianship. I could not wait for them to get finished and get to the real deal. The only thing that really lived up Exile's set was the drunk kid next to us puked up his pancake and eggs all over the floor! We stood on our chairs for the reat of the night...but at least it was SOMETHING! But it was all good 'cause Tyler and Perry were coming on and we were gonna be on our seats the reat of the evening anyway!
The same black curtain came down during switch over and this time the Psycho theme was piped over the P.A. Tyler in white, Perry in black, Whitford, Hamilton and Kramer delivered the solid goods for the third year straight! They had a fellow named Mark Radice on keyboards to fill out the sound but other than that it was business as usual. They played a lot of the same songs as the year before because the newest release was 'Live Bootleg' so the only new tracks were 'Chip Away The Stone' and their cover of 'Come Together' from the Sgt Pepper's movie. During the encore they also did a cover of 'Helter Skelter' which is were I believe Nikki Sixx stole the idea from...along with some other stuff. This was the last time I saw Aerosmith in the '70s. Joe Perry quit the following year and the '80s rolled into the picture. I saw the band many, many more times over the years and always enjoy their show because they do seem to pack a lot of these '70s songs inbetween the less desirable MTV era selections.
[Colored shots by my friend Debbi Schilling who had a student photo pass!]