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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Concert Roundup: Aerosmith makes history at first Southeast Asian concert in Mall Of Asia Arena

Aerosmith makes history at first Southeast Asian concert in Mall Of Asia Arena
By Jamie Ortega 
What happens when the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll band of all time comes to Manila? You watch and you marvel. That was exactly what I did last May 8, 2013 as Steve Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, David Hull and Joey Kramer collectively known as the band AEROSMITH delivered an incredible show at their first Southeast Asian concert in history at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
In a video posted on myxph.com last April 17 Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler invited his Filipino fans to the concert with his message: “You better be there. We’re gonna rock your butt off; nothing that you’ve never seen before on TV, but we’re bringing it to you live. So, from me and all the boys, we’re gonna kick your (butt). Mabuhay!” and kick butt they did- from start to finish. 

As a ‘90s kid who grew up listening to Aerosmith while doing her homework, getting over a heartbreak or studying for a test (pretty much any scenario in her life had an Aerosmith soundtrack to it), it made me immeasurably happy to discover that the band decided to make it a night filled with their greatest hits. By that decision alone it was as if they were dedicating the night to their fans, people who’ve been with them from the very beginning, back when they were struggling musicians from Boston trying to make it in the music business.

Initially, the stage, which was set up like a fashion show runway (horizontal at the back and vertical in the middle), seemed like an odd set-up for a rock concert to me. But as soon as Tyler appeared and performed in a tank top, vest, silver pants, shades and a blue feathered headpiece, it slowly dawned on me- a stage of that length provided enough room for the front man and the rest of the band to move around freely and connect with the audience.

Tyler began the show with a quick greeting of “Hello Manila,” before launching into his first song, Love In An Elevator, from the band’s 1989 album Pump. This was followed by Draw The Line and Jaded which ranked No.86 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 00’s. While performing, Steve would run to the left and to the right parts of the stage, his mike stand in his hand. At certain intervals he would toss his stand from left to right gyrating, shuffling and sometimes even shimmying while singing the song.

A concert insider once said that Filipino audiences are notorious for showing a lack of enthusiasm at concerts, that they would stand-up during certain songs then sit down again once the lesser known tunes would be played. But this night had none of that. When the band performed Cryin, one of their biggest hits, the entire Arena sang along. This feat was replicated when the band performed their other hits like Walk This Way, Dude (Looks Like A Lady), Living On The Edge, etc.

Tyler reciprocated the audience’s reaction by interacting with them whenever he could. He hugged a group of female teenagers, crawled over the speakers, and even took a fan’s cap, tried it on for size, then threw it back out in the crowd. He was the Steve Tyler,the “Demon OF Scream” the band's fans grew up with- crazy, passionate, wild, come to life and they enjoyed every minute of it. But Tyler wasn’t the only star that night- Perry and Kramer, were given their time to shine as well. During the show, Tyler would often walk up to Perry and sing close to his face as Tyler’s screams blended with Perry’s guitar riffs. Kramer also displayed his drum skills in a five minute drum solo that the crowd cheered and applauded,

But if there was one performance that stood out among the 19 songs performed that night, it would definitely have to be the 1973 power ballad “Dream On.” Before the concert I thought my favorite number would be “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” because I was a fan of the movie Armageddon and it IS timeless- people still sing that song on TV and in karaoke bars to this day!

But it was the execution of” Dream On” that won me over. Picture this-- Perry on top of a grand piano with Steve singing and playing ON the piano as four smoke machines spew steam around them? It was a unique way of interpreting the song and I loved the creativity and showmanship that went into it.

Some acts like to end the concert with their latest hit, but for this show the band chose “Sweet Emotion,” one of their earlier songs, to be the encore, and truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That song choice showed that they have come full circle and if this really is their last tour they ended it in a fine way- by going back to their roots.

Before the band finally left the stage, a stream of white confetti fell from the ceiling as Steve shouted “Mahal ko kayo” while stripdancing and lipsynching to Muddy Waters’s “Manish Boy”- it was perfect ending to a truly historical night,





12 comments:

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