Monday, July 9, 2012

Cheap Trick and Aerosmith at Summerfest

What a difference a few days can bring....

The heat wave that paralyzed Southeast Wisconsin, baking it like a blazing, superheated oven had moved over to the east. The cool winds over Lake Michigan had brought the much needed relief over the dry and parched landscape. Still no rain, at least not yet....

The standing room only on the shuttle buses were a sign of things to come. With the temperatures down to a more comfortable level in the high 70's, flocks of people migrated towards the Summerfest grounds, packing it like anchovies in a sardine can. It grew even more crowded as the day drifted along... As Tender heart Bear and I, along with some close friends of ours, filtered through the hordes met of with some good friends ours like, Aaron from the band Full Flavor and Dan and his lovely wife Cindy. Conversations were great and the beer flowed freely.

With heat gone, good beer and good friends is was perfect night for some good old fashioned rock and roll....

As the clock struck 8:00 (Or should say 10? It's a joke...) Cheap Trick burst into action, led the quirky guitarist, Rick Nielsen launched the band into their raucous blend of rock and roll. Trademark checkerboard guitars flashed in the spotlights while vocalist Robin Zander, dressed in his customary Dream Police cop outfit, belted out the words to classics like "Clock Strikes Ten" and "ELO Kiddies". The show was on!

After being bombarded by some classic tunes, Cheap Trick, kept rolling along, laying down some more... 12 string bassist Tom Petersson held his ground, thundering the audience with his own tune,"I Know What I Want". Nielsen tossed a KISS record so far in the masses, that it somehow managed to reach the middle of the arena on "Surrender". Zander sang his heart out during the "The Flame". The crowd roared to their feet upon hearing the first notes of "I Want You to Want Me'. Rick's own pride and joy. Daxx Nielsen, filling in on the drums for Ben E. Carlos set the the backbone for the band seamlessly. The biggest highlight of the show was the five necked guitar that Nielsen brought out in the closing number, "Goodnight" . Never have seen one those before....

At this point, Tender Heart Bear and I looked at each other as if to say, this going to be one a hell of a great night....

The setlist

Clock Strikes Ten
ELO Kiddies
California Man
Ain't That a Shame
Sick Man of Europe
Baby Loves to Rock
Need Your Love
I Know What I Want
The Flame
I Want You to Want Me
Dream Police

Aerosmith was the headliners for tonight's show... This is band that just won't quit rockin'! Aerosmith earned their stripes early in their career with their massive success of their phenomenal 1975 release, Toys in the Attic. Wildfire success followed by endless tours, drug and alcohol abuse and the the departure of the original guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, led to the downfall of this great American band.

Under new management, Aerosmith cleaned up their act and checked into rehab. After signing under a new label, Aerosmth reunited with the original members with a new attitude. Renewed, revived and ready to rock, this Aero Force was set to take on the world. Thanks to the help of MTV for spawning an unbelievable set of hit singles and albums, Steven Tyler and the boys set a course of world domination. A success story that still stands today and unparalleled by any other act ever.

Undaunted by the recent fiascoes surrounding Steven Tyler's employment as an American Idol judge and near break up rumors, these Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees come out to do what they do best....ROCK! Starting with the opening bars from their title track of their fifth album, Draw the Line, Aerosmith proved that they will never be forgotten. Joe Perry blazed his slide up and down his famed glass guitar. The Demon of Screamin' vocalist, Steven Tyler dressed in a black vest, a golden turncoat, jeans and a red bandana twirled his trademark scarf dressed mic stand to the sky as if the lead the band. The Toxic Twins were taking no prisoners!

As Aerosmith was barreling though their 19 song set list, they stuck basically to their golden classics from the '70's with a few great tunes from the 90's for good measure. Guitarist Brad Whitford led the band through a searing replica of "Last Child" from the Rocks album. Joe "F@#king" Perry seared the frets off his guitar on "Boogie Men" while he sang his ass off on "Combination". Tom Hamilton displayed his bass prowess, introducing the band to the legendary classic "Sweet Emotion"; even nudged Perry for a killer song ending guitar solo. Tyler rapped and danced has way through the fan favorite, "Walk this Way". Skin master Joey Kramer even banged his head (literary!) on the drums during his solo.

Their were many highlights in this show. For me, it was the between of the tossing of the colorful lights and the performances of "No More, No More" and "Lord of the Thighs" of the endless sea of cellphone lights of Tyler sat down on the piano to perform "Dream On". Only two songs, "Oh Yeah" and "Legendary Child" from their upcoming release, Music from Another Dimension were played. This is the classic Aerosmith show, the way it's meant to be played...The way I like it!

The setlist:

Draw the Line
Love in an Elevator
Oh Yeah
Livin' on the Edge
S.O.S (Too Bad)
Last Child
Drum Solo
Lord of the Thighs
Boogie Men
What It Takes
Legendary Child
Sweet Emotion
Mother Popcorn
Walk This Way

Dream On
Train Kept a' Rollin'

As we were corralled out of the packed Summerfest grounds like herds of cattle through mazes of fences, I couldn't help my smile knowing I had witnessed a great show. Then again, I could tell you about the first time I saw Aerosmith. Seventh row at Alpine Valley... Then again, I could wait till another time....


OrbsCorbs said...

Again, very nice job of covering the shows, drew. I've seen one of those 5-neck guitars somewhere, sometime. (They say if you remember the 60's, you weren't there.) John McLaughlin? Did he have a 5-neck?

Chris Conner said...

I always wanted to watch Aerosmith live but I couldn't make it! Thanks for posting this, I will see this concert next month as I have already ordered Aerosmith Rock Tickets from GoodSeatTickets

kkdither said...

Nice job, drew.

jedwis said...

Another fine piece of writing, thanks Drew...

drewzepmeister said...

Thanks for the comments (and spam), guys!

John McLauglin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra did not play a five necker. He did play a Gibson EDS 1275 double-neck similar to the one Jimmy Page plays.

jedwis said...

Gibson guitars and Checker cabs, both were made in Kalamazoo Michigan.