By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida—August 29, 2016—Steven Tyler’s ‘Out on a Limb” Tour
The first time I heard Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings album was back home in Detroit while on vacation. One of my girlfriends pulled out the album and the first second I heard “Same Old Song and Dance” I was smitten. I can still hear this song and “Lord of the Thighs” in my head like it was yesterday. Back then if music didn’t get radio airplay the only way to hear something new was to search for it—or find out about the album and band after reading Creem or Rolling Stone. Hard times!
Fast forward through the years, Aerosmith and Steven Tyler, whom I have always thought of as the “American Mick Jagger” with a better voice, has been through a lot of personal ups and downs but continued to crank out massive hits in the 1980s through the 1990s. Nowadays, Joe Perry is busy doing his side project The Hollywood Vampires and Steven Tyler has dabbled in projects outside of making music such as being a judge on American Idol, writing the autobiography Does the Noise in My Head Bother you?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir, and now his first solo album We’re All Somebody from Somewhere, which was released on July 15, 2016. Media sources kept labeling the album as a “country departure” but after listening to the album, I would call it “country-lite.” It will still appeal to die-hard rock fans but also those who typically listen to country-rock. He has reworked Aerosmith classics like “Janie’s Got a Gun” and actually a couple of the songs are really bluesy with sedate versions of the signature Tyler growl and scream. The song I really like on the album is “I Make My Own Sunshine” which has a sweet country pop feel.
On August 29, 2016, Steven Tyler rolled into Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida with the dynamic Nashville band Loving Mary. As the hall was filling up I noticed the audience was comprised of a lot of adoring females, often groups of girlfriends all dolled up, out on the town to see the ever-hunky Steven Tyler. Let’s face it, ladies, the man is still hot at age 68, and is blessed with a full mane of hair and rock star attitude.
By the time the concert started around 8:25 p.m., every seat—I mean every one—was filled. First a narrated video played showing photos of Steven in his youth and the early days of Aerosmith. Finally, Steven Tyler sauntered out on the stage holding a copy of the St. Petersburg Times which featured his photo on the cover. He playfully opened and closed it, taunting the audience and then put it down, jumping into the song “Sweet Emotion.” The audience went wild, standing in their seats (actually, people stood and danced during most of the concert). Next, he belted out another Aerosmith song “Cryin’’, giving the concert an “Aerosmith feel” from the get-go. This was no country concert so die-hard fans had nothing to fear.
Tyler then moved into Beatles covers like “Come Together” and then launched new tunes from his recent album by playing “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere”. It was clear from the videos and the message Tyler was embracing the melting pot of America. The song melded into Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)”, ending it with a funky feel.
Tyler spoke to the audience between songs, often telling stories from his past and how the songs on We’re All Somebody From Somewhere evolved. He then discussed how he met Aerosmith partner Joe Perry, went to Woodstock, and how he mowed lawns and was the “first to wear Speedos.” A photo of a young Tyler in a tiny bikini and a lawn mower flashed on the screen to everyone’s delight.
Tyler embraced the talented Suzie McNeil, who not only sang during the concert but also comfortably hopped from guitar to harmonica, piano, and accordion without missing a beat. Tyler mentioned McNeil reminded him of a “hippie chick” he once met and then launched into “Mercedes Benz” and “Piece of My Heart” with Elisha Hoffman. Both Hoffman and Tyler traded high notes as the song took on a gospel tone, with Tyler saying “we’re going to church.”
Tyler launched into a story about how Mick Fleetwood was directly responsible for his wanting to play rock music after he heard the early Fleetwood Mac perform. He launched into the blues-rock “Rattlesnake Shake” which was accompanied by a harmonica and banjo, giving this classic a bit of a country twist.
More Aerosmith songs ensued like “Jaded” and “What It Takes” as well as new material like “Love Is Your Name”, Red, White and You” and my favorite “I Make My Own Sunshine” which the band played with an island or Caribbean beat. A welcome surprise was Tyler grabbing a ukulele and showing the audience how to tune to the phrase “my dog has fleas” and sing “Little Grass Shack”. This was definitely another side of Tyler we never get to see at an Aerosmith concert.
Other highlights included Tyler’s cover of the Beatles “If I Fell In Love With You” and Aerosmith songs “Dream On” and “Walk This Way” which segued into Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta’ Love”. Tyler was the consummate microphone wielding rock star “pirate” who posed for the audience, danced around stage, and truly entertained. At one point somebody threw a black scarf on stage, whereas, he sniffed it, embraced it, and threw it back.
The encore included a re-worked version of “Janie’s Got A Gun” which included an introduction with almost a Middle Eastern minor-key progression. He then played “Only Heaven” and ended the evening with “Train Kept A-Rollin’”.
This, my friends, was a heavy, rocking show full of Aerosmith classics, country nuanced songs, and classic blues-rock, which left the audience in a euphoric state (well, at least this writer). Steven Tyler gave the audience everything a fan expects—and then some. A truly memorable evening!
Loving Mary band: Marti Frederiksen, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Suzie McNeil, Elisha Hoffman, Andrew Mactaggart and Sarah Tomek
We’re All Somebody From Somewhere/Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)
Mercedes Benz/Piece of My Heart
Love Is Your Name
I Make My Own Sunshine
Little Grass Shack
What It Takes
Red,White & You
My Own Worst Enemy
Walk This Way/Whole Lotta’ Love
Janie’s Got a Gun
Train Kept A-Rollin’
Steven Tyler’s Solo TOUR
2 — Las Vegas, Venetian Theatre
5 — Los Angeles, Dolby Theatre
8 — Seattle, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
10 — Vancouver, Orpheum Theatre
14 — San Francisco, The Masonic
20 — Phoenix, Comerica Theatre
23 — Denver, Ellie Caulkins Opera House
26 — Austin, Bass Concert Hall
29 — Houston, Brown Theater at Wortham Center
1 — Dallas, Music Hall at Fair Park
13 — Chicago, Chicago Theatre
17 — Nashville, Andrew Jackson Hall at TPAC
23 — Washington, D.C., Warner Theatre
29 — Clearwater, Fla., Ruth Eckerd Hall
1 — Atlanta, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
4 — Boston, Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre
7 — Philadelphia, Academy of Music
10 — Providence, R.I., Providence Performing Arts Center
13 — Toronto, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
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I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. I travel between the US and UK seeking my dream! My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse