Uncle G’s FUN Classic Rock Time Machine – Aerosmith Live 1988 (2014)

Date Published25 March 2014Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page
Uncle G’s FUN Classic Rock Time Machine
Event: Aerosmith at The Summit, in Houston Texas, U.S.A.
Date: 15 Feb 1988

By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
GaryBrown@Garyunclegbrownarchives.com

With all this Aerosmith talk recently announcing they are heading back on the road (The Global Warming World Tour), and then it being Steven Tyler’s 66th birthday yesterday (26 March), I decided to give the old “Uncle G” Classic Rock Time Machine a spin. Our destination will be Houston Texas, USA. About twelve and a half miles from where I am sitting right now, at a location nowadays known as, Lakewood Church (yeah…the one on the television every Sunday morning with Joel Osteen…reportedly Cher digs him). When I arrived in Houston back in 1986, this huge place of worship was called; The Summit. An average twenty thousand-seat auditorium, much like Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The year I want to go back to will be, 1988. In U.S. Pop culture news, the top movie that year was a Dustin Hoffman / Tom Cruise film called, Rain Man. The number one rated program on television was, The Crosby Show.

The exact date I want; the fifteenth of February. I set the arrival time for 7 PM. I can look around, take a piss, grab a draft beer, and find my seat before the show starts.

The house lights go down. There’s audio being pumped out to the full captivity crowd. Fans are cheering. The first official sound from a real Aerosmith band member; drummer Joey Kramer. A quick, and LOUD few pounds on the skins. The audience picks it off. Excitement is in the air. Then one of those one-of-a-kind yells out of front-man Steven Tyler. All hell breaks loose now. Aerosmith is on the stage !! Their first number, the title track from their third studio album; Toys In The Attic. The audience is literately going wild. A very high-energy song. Everyone’s on their feet. While doing his job, Steven Tyler is scoping out the females in the front. Some songs down the setlist, Steven’s in-between banter centers around one who seemed to be a rather rambunctious female. One who had caught the attention of the security guards. She’d be gone if not for his running interference.

The first three songs kind of reminded me of songs they do usually nowadays towards the end of the setlist; TITA – Same Old Song And Dance – Big Ten Inch Record. Right after the last notes of Big Ten comes the icing on the cake. Three words from Aerosmith’s lead singer that the crowd will immediately eat right up; “Good Evening Houston.”

Tom Hamilton (bass) and Steven Tyler (Bootleg Cover_Photographer Unknown)

In this time period, I am younger and very handsome (not really…average Joe…I sometimes insert crazy shit to just make sure you, the reader, are paying attention). For the members of Aerosmith, it’s, make it or break it time. Their million-dollar-making band from the 1970s crashed and burned. One word; drugs. Maybe two words; bad choices. No one, when they are a child, gets up in class and announces that they want to grow up to be a drug addict. Shit happens. Some folks come back from the pits of hell, while others waste away.

The new album is called, ‘Permanent Vacation’. The band’s last three studio releases according to many could have been better. This time they were trying something new…being totally straight and sober. Serious money was spent. They were back to original band members. It should be noted that most songs on Aerosmith’s ninth studio offering would include an outsider on the songwriting credits. Power writers at the time like Desmond Child getting his name in the credits, three times; Heart’s Done Time – Dude (Looks Like A Lady) – Angel. So, well worth the cash. The only song listed as a group effort, and without anyone else was the last song called; The Movie. An instrumental with cool ass audio samples, including a sexy-sounding female voice. The guitar work on this…infectious to the tenth power.

The concert picks up with the first song off PV; Dude (Looks Like A Lady). Then Tyler the seasoned pro, strokes the crowd more; “Houston you’re beautiful tonight.”

From Aerosmith’s seventh album a solid rocker called Lightning Strikes.

Then what Steven told the crowd was a “triple shot” from their new PV album. Ended up being four songs but it seems Tyler wanted to push home the fact that the song Angel, was their new video. That was the banter before the tune was performed in which the audience, seemed to lose a little attention. To hard rocks fans, Angel sound to me as more a POP SONG. You can call it a POWER BALLAD if you want, but I’d beg to differ.

One of my favorites off Rocks (1976), came next; Back In The Saddle. Followed by another song off the same album, ‘Last Child’. So much for the poor response after Angel. The concert crowd again goes berserk.

Now anyone whose actually been at a live Aerosmith show knows that lyricist/poet Steven Tyler’s lyrics that he’s singing, tend to turn a bit blue sometimes. If you know the words well, you’re bound to catch on. Very much so here as with a song further down the setlist; Sweet Emotion. With this hit song, Steven takes some liberties with the words…changing them a tad; “a month on the road and I’ll be cummin’ in your hand.” A reference to a groupie I imagine, as is the original lyric. Speaking of Sweet Emotion, it includes a very cool Peter Gunn instrumental piece…they seriously rocked this performance!! All throughout the concert Joe Perry and Brad Whitford absolutely smoke and does the rhythm section of Brad Hamilton and Joey Kramer.

Set List

  1. Toys In The Attic
  2. Same Old Song And Dance
  3. Big Ten Inch Record
  4. Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
  5. Lightning Strikes
  6. Rag Doll
  7. Hangman Jury
  8. Permanent Vacation
  9. Angel
  10. Back In The Saddle
  11. Last Child
  12. Draw The Line
  13. One Way Street
  14. Dream On
  15. Train Kept-A-Rollin’
  16. Sweet Emotion
  17. I’m Down
  18. Walk This Way

After the last pounding notes rang out from the closing number, Walk This Way, Mr. Tyler who seemed to have given his all, told the crowd; “Goodnight !! God bless you and drive carefully. Goodnight !!

And a GOOD night it was. For Houston was lucky enough to watch history in the making. For anyone not from this planet, Aerosmith’s second success story is STILL unfolding today. Sure they STILL have some disagreements….the nature of the breast. An old-school hard rock band that STILL kicks major ass on stage. GREAT fun to see perform live if you have not already.

Note: I, later on, saw Aerosmith live in concert, at this very same location, about nine and a half years later; Nine Lives Tour. What a GREAT time I had – Aerosmith ROCKS !!

Bonus Video – Found on YouTube

Archival Footage – Aerosmith – Houston TX 1988 (not an official Aerosmith production)

End of Story

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