Las Vegas. Lights, Gambling, Showgirls and on Saturday night – Aerosmith!
Aerosmith rode into Las Vegas with their “Blue Army Tour”. The Blue Army is Aero’s fan base nickname. The Army showed up to the SOLD-OUT show at the MGM Grand Arena in droves. There were several people outside as I came in looking for tickets to get in to the show and I felt their pain. So close and yet so far away from seeing a legend of rock is tough.
Living Colour opened the show. Vernon Reid and Company don’t disappoint. Their giant hit “Cult of Personality” is one of the great late 80’s classics and a good choice for an Aero opener.
The crowd patiently waits for Aerosmith to make their way to the stage. There is total darkness and then that famous Aerosmith logo lights up. Like a David Copperfield magic trick, Steven and Joe are standing on the end of the catwalk with Brad, Tom and Joey on the backstage and the music starts. This set opens with the Yardbirds, “Train Kept a Rollin’ which Aerosmith has made their own over the years. The opener changes on this tour almost nightly so you never know what will start things off. Steven in his white top hat is the ringmaster of the Blue Army circus. Joe Perry is ever the straight man to Tyler’s clown. Tom on bass, Brad on rhythm guitar and Joey on drums keep the Aero music train going all night long!
Many Aerosmith hits on are on the setlist including “Walk This Way” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady” which throws the crowd into a frenzy of yelling the chorus at Tyler! A couple of covers on the list include a Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac tune “Stop Messin’ Around”. Green was a big influence for Joe Perry. Speaking of Joe Perry, who has been a part-time resident of Sarasota for many years, has a book that was released recently called “Rocks, My Life In and Out of Aerosmith”. If you are an Aerosmith fan or a rock fan in general, this is a must read!
One of the treats of the show is Joey Kramer’s 15 minute drum solo. It is a workout with Joey getting the crowd in the act. Steven noodles around with Joey. Tyler started out on drums and obviously still loves them. Joey hits the drums with his head for an added attraction to this spectacle.
Brad Whitmore is the ever constant presence playing rhythm to Joe’s lead, Brad has been named one of Guitar World’s 100 Top Guitarists. Tom “Sweet Emotion” Hamilton has one of the most famous bass lines in rock and as soon as you hear that riff you know what’s coming next. “Dream On” the first rock ballad long before there was the “rock ballad” is the General of this Blue Army tour.
For over 40 years of ups and downs, ins and outs, Aerosmith is still here doing it and doing it as good as ever. If you have to chance to see Aerosmith, don’t think twice. Just Do It! They are truly our greatest American rock and roll band.
Story by Vicky Sullivan. All photos property of the Sarasota Post, Vicky Sullivan & Rock The Lens Photography