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E-Pao! Rock Concert - Aerosmith enthralled B’lore

Aerosmith enthralled B’lore
By: Ringo Pebam *

Powerful vocals, blazing guitars, catchy music, colorful musicians, sparkling light on stage and energetic stage performance of Aerosmith left Bangalore, the rock capital of the country, enthralled. Aerosmith – the bad boys from Boston performed their first ever concert in India, as part of their “Greatest Hits 2007 World Tour”.

Formed in 1973, they have been the major innovators in American hard rock, glam and blues. They have inspired rock legends like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Nirvana and many more.

2nd of June - we reached Palace Ground at 2:30 pm, there were fans already lined up at the gate. There wasn’t camping from early morning like the Maiden mania in the Iron Maiden’s concert couple of months ago, but crowd turned up in huge numbers instantly. The gate first opened around 4:45 pm but it was just the first layer of ticket checking and heavy frisking. There was another gate on the makeshift wall of the concert area. When the second gate opened by 5:30 pm, everybody ran hastily through the metal detectors. We managed to get places right at the barricade in front of the long ramp that was made for Steven to run around.

The long wait in the scorching heat lasted for almost 3 hours, but luckily there wasn’t any of shove and push. We could breathe properly and that was one reason why many girls were seen right in the front. No doubt, it was a matured and helpful crowd.

To everyone’s surprise, there was a grey haired old man who was feeling unwell; having seen volunteers extending no help, we all gathered energy to push back the people at the back, making space for the old man to float away between us and the barricade. Many cried desperately for water from the volunteers, for a girl who got fainted. I have heard that fans died at AC-DC concerts in stampede. Here in B’lore, everybody stood united to enjoy and help at the same time - all in the name of rock. There were die-hard fans from other cities and even aboard. Sri Lankan fans came with their flags.
The sky was clear and it was a rain-less evening, even though the weatherman had predicted the arrival of monsoon in the city on June 1. The show finally started at 8:15 pm.

With a rotating image of the planet earth on the huge backdrop, Aerosmith made their grand entry on the stage. “God I love the sweet taste of India, Lingers on the tip of my tongue…”, sang Steven Tyler. Opening the show with “Taste of India”, they turned the Indian crowd to frenzy.

Joe Perry and the colorful Steven Tyler with his unique hat, a scarf on his neck, another three tied on his microphone stand, in his signature style, came up to the elongated runway. Wow, it was an overwhelming moment when those two legends were just an arm’s length away greeting the crowd with a “Namaste”. Having seen them so often on the TV screen, we got goose bumps, when they came so close – so close so that the wrinkle lines and tattoos on their skin could be seen so clear.


They belted out “Love in an elevator”, “Falling in Love” and “Crying” one after the other. There were good animations with clips from their music videos shown on the big screen on the stage. Alicia Silverstone could be seen coming on the screen just before they played their power-ballad “Crying”.

Screaming girls were seen wiping tears off their eyes. Unexpected tears rolled out of Biswajit’s eyes, when “Cryin’” was sung – a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from this Tyler fan. I was really feeling good to have this old chum beside me singing along with Steven, every line of songs, so tunefully with the same vocal pitch as Steven. Biswajit, vocalist of Recycle - a Manipur based grunge band with a blend of new metal - idolizes Steven Tyler and had come for the show all the way from Manipur. What a night it was for him and everyone else to get to watch the legends themselves perform live.

Going wild and ecstatic with every song they sang, we don’t exactly remember the sequence of the songs they played. We got no chance to note down the song sequence on the mobile phones too, and yes the phone was kept online on many songs at places near and distant to friends who are dying to hear their idols play live. They went on to play “Eat the rich”, “Jaded”…

Joe Perry and Steven came to the end of the stage ramp, sat on wooden chairs as they did an acoustic number.

Tonight’s concert was not the artful, energetic, flamboyant Steven Tyler’s alone. Joe Perry showed great showmanship and gave an electrifying yet dignified performance, leaving Bangalore amazed. He carried the heavy weight of the hard rock sound of Aerosmith single handedly. He made us witness his guitar works that made the unique sound of Aerosmith. It was awesome to see him move his fingers all over the fretboard, and with some strums on the power chords he released the sound we have been so much familiar with for so many years.

Aerosmith have been around for more than three decades. For my generation, their songs became a constant companion from “Pump” and “Get a grip” albums. Early 90’s - when every rock music lovers made music cassettes of – GNR’s Use your Illisions, Metallica’s Black Album, Mr Big’s Lean into it, Damn Yankees’ Don’t Tread as some must haves; Aerosmith’s Get a grip was a mandatory one.
With youthful music videos, featuring Steven’s daughter Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone, with teens and high-school themes; their music was so popular among the girls and the boys alike – big kudos to MTV and Channel V. How can we forget the scene where Joe Perry, so nonchalantly walked down from a railway track with a train passing him by a whisker in the video of “Livin on the edge”?

Old High School was the name of the game, when the band went on to play the hard rocking “Livin on the edge” and other older classics from early 70’s like “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotions” and “Walk this way”.

Many girls in the front sang aloud along with Steven, reaching out their hands to the flamboyant singer. Seeing the very energetic stage performance of Steven - it was hard to believe that Steven is 59 years old. This charismatic and entertaining front man would sleep on top of the monitor speakers, he would shake and twist with his trademark scarves hung on the microphone stand; he would come to the very tip of the ramp, kneeling down,
looking right into the camera he would sing like a rock crazy kid; he put his arm across Perry many a times; he would put his mic on the side-drum of Joey Kramer; he never stood still on the stage, but pranced around through the length and breadth of it

Having got the grand Indian Welcome, the kind of a rock star’s welcome they last had in late 70’s in Japan, they must be so overwhelmed to be in Bangalore. Steven at one point wore a Mysore Peta (Cap). Joey Kramer kept a statue of Indian Elephant God Ganesha near his drum kit.

Brad Whitford wore a low profile look, a simple old man with simple attire and a cap played the six strings guitar, producing a smooth and nasal guitar sound.
Tom Hamilton, who is 56 years old, still looked young, with blonde hair and a T-Shirt. He came up to the front of the ramp, and gave a haunting bass solo – it was great to see him move his fingers on the 4 string. Yeah! he co–wrote evergreen songs like Sweet Emotion, Janie's Got a Gun and Jaded. Joseph Kramer was there providing us the solid Rock N Roll beat we went to experience. Legend has it that he used to write the name “Aerosmith” on his math books and other things in high school. They were made to read a book called ARROWSMITH, a name too sophisticated, so Kramer renamed it to “A-E-R-O..." They liked it and Aerosmith got their name.

Joe Perry, the lead guitarist, made his guitar do the talking, and he charmed everyone. Born to the children of Portuguese and Italian immigrants, his looks reminds of Sylvester Stallone (a leaner version). Making entry with all black attire and a white scarf on his neck, he changed to a maroon shirt at the later part of the show. He also took up the lead vocals of a song, which must be from Honkin' On Bobo album. Not restricting to just playing and singing in front of the mic, he moved around, came towards the crowd so often, and at times played the lead solos putting the guitar behind his head.

Tell me what it takes to let you go….”, Steven Tyler made the 25,000 plus crowd sing along with the very beautiful “What it takes”. Steven’s very rocking word “Guitar”, just before the solo starts was all there. That was cool.

Steve introduced the members and finally bid good bye to Bangalore. The crowd was not ready to leave and kept asking for more. He called back his mates and performed on last number making everyone go wild with “I don’t wanna miss a thing”, soundtrack from the movie Armageddon, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Biswajit – a respected vocalist in Manipur’s rock circuit couldn’t stop the tears of joy coming out of his eyes as he sang along on par with Steven Tyler.

It was one great concert, one of the best – and after all it was Aerosmith Live. We did expect “Angel”, “Jane’s got a gun”, “Crazy” and “Amazing” to be on their set list. But it was okay for a band like Aerosmith, who has numerous hit songs; they have performed so many classics and hit numbers. For a band who has been around for the last 37 years or so, whose band members’ ages are almost 60; it was incredible to have played 20 plus songs. Yeah, we didn’t miss a thing; we are so content with the 2 hours of electrifying performance.


* Ringo Pebam, a Software Engineer in Bangalore, and a Free and Open Source Software activist, contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be contacted at ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com.

Picture Courtesy:
Sonyboy Narengbam(sonyboygit(AT)gmail(DOT)com) and Ringo Pebam(ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com).

This article was webcasted on June 08th, 2007



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