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Aerosmith Walks Their Way at Opening of Farewell Tour in Philly

| Vicky Sullivan |

I saw my first Aerosmith show on May 15, 1976 at Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, on my 17th birthday!  It was the days of general admission, working your way to the front of the stage and watching your favorite band in awe.   A lot has changed since then; now there are metal detectors, bag rules, and everyone has a camera in their hand.  One thing that hasn’t changed is that my favorite rock band still kicks ass in 2023!


Opening with “Back in the Saddle” (soundbite of it being used by the NFL for the new season) Steven, Joe, Tom, and Brad were in top form.  They brought a few tricks from their Vegas residency along with a massive stage production of screens, lighting, and a Flying V-shaped stage allowing views from around the entire arena.  Steven, dressed in a floor-length silver jacket, hat, and sunglasses, worked his way down the stage and discarded the glasses to some lucky fan in the crowd.  Sarasota resident Joe Perry in a rocker cowboy hat, Tom in sunglasses, and Brad in a black hat & wearing his brand’s t-shirt, the applause of their entrance was thundering. They launched right into 1989’s “Love in an Elevator.” The crowd was out of their seats at the band’s entrance and stayed up all night.  This was the 40th time Aero has played in Philly over the years.

A favorite part of the show for this diehard fan was Steven & Joe moving end-stage to perform a trio of early Aero classics, “Hangman Jury,” “Seasons of Wither,” and “Movin’ Out,” which was the first song written by Tyler and Perry as a songwriting team.  Joe shared that he was going to use a guitar given to him by Jeff Beck’s wife to keep Jeff’s spirit alive.  The tribute to Beck was a sweet, sentimental moment in the show.    Joe took over vocals for a minute, and they played a rocking cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Stop Messin’ Around.”


Lots of fun little moments, Steven pitching his harmonica and then needing it back, a roadie jumped from the pit to recover it.  Steven challenges Brad playing air guitar on his mic stand, Brad chuckles. Tom & Steven ham it up, and of course, Joe reigning Steven in on occasion.  The dynamic between the Toxic Twins is still fun to watch after all these years.   Props to John Douglas on the drums as Joey Kramer could not make this tour, and JD was his drum tech.  He has taken on the job with class, not an easy task to fill those shoes.  Joey is seen in the video package honoring the band’s 50 year anniversary!

Filling out the backstage is Buck Johnson on keyboards and background vocals, who also plays with the Hollywood Vampires.  Suzie McNeil of the Loving Mary Band, who backed Steven on his solo tour in 2017, is on vocals, and musical director & sax player Seth Stachkowski, all bringing great added sound to the band.  Before the encore, Steven asked that people please visit Maui (he has a home there), then he launched into the big encore of those iconic tunes of “Dream On” and “Walk This Way,” complete with streamers and confetti filling the arena, ending a two-hour show.  There was no way I could miss this opener, and glad I made it. As much as I hate to see Aerosmith retire, they are smart to do it while they are at the top of their game!  If you are an Aero fan, either casual or diehard, wherever you are, don’t miss out on this tour! The tour comes to Tampa’s Amalie Arena on October 11th and is running through January 2024. Everything Aerosmith.

Band Philly

Opening band is The Black Crowes, and just another treat on this tour! The Crowes toured with Aerosmith in 1990, which blows my mind that was 33 years ago!  Chris and Rich Robinson have been back on the road and sound fabulous! Turn up Chris’ microphone, please! Robinson, like Tyler, is one hell of a frontman.  They played an 11-song setlist that lasted an hour.  They jammed, they danced, and they talked to angels!  Don’t show up late and miss the opening act; you will be cheating yourself out of a great band. The Crowes are doing some solo dates on their days off from the tour in various cities around the country.   Check out the website for dates – The Black Crowes.

Vicky Sullivan Photos

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