Monday, August 16, 2010

J. Geils Band and Aerosmith Rock Fenway Park

I've seen both bands before, but it's been about 25 years for J. Geils Band and 15 for Aerosmith, and this was my first concert at Fenway Park, so I knew that alone would make August 14, 2010 a special show.

J. Geils band was preceded by a full marching band entering the stage single file and playing "Centerfold", then they left (which took quite some time) and the real band took the stage. They looked and sounded great, and seemed to be having a fantastic time - I don't know why these guys don't still tour. Peter Wolf was in great form - his voice, moves and stage raps don't give away his age, though he does look a bit more freakish these days. Plus Magic Dick still has most of his hair - nobody rocks the white man afro or the harmonica like him! They were even joined by their longtime touring horns - The Up Town Horns.

Geils set included (I know I'm missing some): "First I Look At The Purse", "Hard Drivin Man", "Night Time", "Southside Shuffle", "Freeze Frame", "Give It to Me," "Detroit Breakdown", "Love Stinks", "Musta Got Lost", "Looking For a Love", "House Party", "Whammer Jammer", "Centerfold". It was an upbeat, high-energy, foot-tapping, ass-shaking show. Wolf went out into the crowd multiple times. They really made the most out of their time on stage. I can't say the same for the next band.

Aerosmith started with a video narrated by Dennis Leary which encapsulated their career in terms of baseball - such as when Joe Perry was traded to the Cardinals. It was pretty funny, then the real show started with "Train Kept A Rollin'".  The set sagged a bit for me as it concentrated on more recent pop hits, but highlights came with "Last Child", "Come Together" and a strong ending of classics. The low point was probably Joe Perry's lame guitar duel with his Guitar Hero self on screen. Felt like nothing but a commercial to me.
One bummer about Fenway is how a great baseball seat puts you very far away from the stage which is setup in deep center field.  Also the volume is so low that anyone talking in the crowd around you can be heard over the band -- that never happens at true concert venues.

The climax for Aerosmith was the encore.  Steven Tyler appeared on top of the Green Monster at a white baby grand piano for an amazing version of "Dream On". It was a peak moment to be singing that song along with 38,000 other fans at Fenway.  He then ran back to the stage for the final song, "Walk This Way".

The surprise of the night was that there was no final jam welcoming some of the J. Geils Band. Steven Tyler had been saying for months what a fan of Peter Wolf he was, but they never appeared together. I would have bet anything that somebody was going to cover "Dirty Water."  Sunday, The Boston Globe and Herald both reported a heated argument between Wolf and Tyler at Fenway the night before the show. Tyler reportedly told Wolf not to use the stage ramp that goes out into the crowd. They argued over that and Tyler finally relented, but that seemed to kill any thought of doing something together.

I gotta say J. Geils won the night. Most fans I've heard from were disappointed in Aerosmith, mainly that the set did nothing special for such a cool homecoming night. Aside from the piano on the green monster, this was the same set list they've been on tour with. And if I was just to read body language - Steven Tyler and the rest of the band are far from friends, but without Tyler they've got no energy live.

I'd see J. Geils again in a heart beat, but Aerosmith seems to be flying on autopilot.

Aerosmith Set
01. Train Kept A Rollin'
02. Love In An Elevator
03. Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)
04. Livin' On The Edge
05. What It Takes
06. Pink  -- (I was regretting being there by this point)
07. Last Child
08. Cryin'
09. Rag Doll
--Guitar Hero Joe-- (DUMB)
10. Stop Messin' Around-- (with Joe's sons Tony & Adrian Perry. Nice for him, boring for us.)
11. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing  -- (This song makes me want to puke most of the time, but luckily a couple drunk guys in front of me serenaded each other. More entertaining than the actual song.)
12. Come Together
13. Sweet Emotion
14. Baby Please Don't Go
15. Draw The Line
16. Dream On (atop the Green Monster! COOL)
17. Walk This Way

See what the Globe thought, and the Herald.

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