Rock This Way

Last night was my 11th time seeing Aerosmith and true to form, they continue to impress and amaze.  They had a great set list, sounded fantastic, looked terrific and were really rocking!  The set list consisted of a lot of deep tracks, including a surprise cover of the Standell’s "Dirty Water" – sung by Joe Perry as an anthem to his Boston roots, and a cover of "Rattlesnake Shake," the song that brought the band together back in 1969 in New Hampshire.   The entire set list:

Mama Kin
Sweet E
Baby Please
Dirty H2O
Stop Messin’
Dream On
Rattle Snake
Eat The Rich
Draw The Line
Walk This Way

That is a solid set from start to finish, and one of the longest shows of the tour so far.  By comparison, Motley Crue was a disappointment last night.  This marked the fourth time seeing the Crue, the most recent being back in March.  They sounded alright then, but I enjoyed them a lot more with my earplugs in, as it helped to cut through the wall of noise that they create with their overly-loud system.  Back then, Vince Neil’s habit of changing the entire flow of the song by skipping over words and sometimes entire lines of lyrics was odd, but the second time around, it was just annoying.  These are the songs you know by heart, and for the second time, I found myself unable to sing along to Vince’s choppy vocals. 

The sub-par performance wasn’t helped any by the fact that Vince was struggling with laryngitis.  So not only was the performance choppy and shaky, but even when the words were right, they didn’t sound good!!

I feel bad saying that since I’ve seen two great shows by the Crue, and the one in March was good – this was a real disappointment though, and I wish I didn’t have to say that.  It was also disappointing to see that on a tour where Aerosmith has been pulling out some deep cuts ("S.O.S. (Too Bad)," "Rattlesnake Shake," "Lord of the Thighs," "No More No More") that the Crue performed the same set they did 6 months ago, minus "Too Fast For Love," "Ten Seconds to Love," "Red Hot," "On With The Show," and "Anarchy In The UK" resulting in this rather predictable set list:

Dr. Feelgood
Shout At The Devil
Wild Side
Looks That Kill
Louder Than Hell
Live Wire
Girls Girls Girls
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Home Sweet Home
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Primal Scream
Kickstart My Heart

Aerosmith more than made up for it, however, and showed the youngin’s (not that Crue is that young any more) how it’s done.

One quick concert-related note:  when everyone is waiting to get out of the parking lot, anyone who tries to drive up to the front of the line of cars, cutting everyone off should have their tires slashed.  Jerks.

Last but not least, here’s a few Aerosmith-related links:

Review of last night’s show in the Boston Globe

Steven Tyler reveals he has Hepatitis C

And this is a blog entry that was mentioned on the Aerosmith fan club discussion boards today.  This guy is an Aerosmith hater and offers his "Indisputable, Factual Reasons to Hate Aerosmith."  Now, just by the title, you know its going to be a questionable, possibly laughable post. 

I haven’t read much of the rest of his blog, but he admits to enjoying blaring his "honky-tonk country music" making him not much of a rock fan by his own admission.  Besides that, I’m guessing that this guy is a bit of a "music Nazi," believing that only a handful of the biggest-name bands and a handful of the most obscure bands – as well as the bands he likes, of course – are worthy of listening to. 

I actually think that Aerosmith belongs on rock’s "B-list" as well, but I think that the "A-list" is reserved for a very small number of bands and artists:  Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Black Sabbath, The Sex Pistols, U2, and Pink Floyd would be among them.  These are bands that are the first-generation of a particular genre or sound that others built upon.  The B-Listers include some damn good company:  Aerosmith, Kiss, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Winwood, Steely Dan, Nirvana, etc.  These people who came from a second generation and have influenced many others, but perhaps not as fundamentally as the A-list.  In fact, it might be tough to get anyone whose career started after 1975 on the A-list.  Aerosmith admitted from early on that they wanted to be the American version of the Stones – and they’ve accomplished that with their brawny, strutting style of cock-rock.  They don’t try to be important, they try to be fun, sexy, and purposefully banal in their delivery.  They aren’t out to save the world, they’re just trying to make fun while we’re waiting for it to end!

Aerosmith has had its fair share of influence on bands: from Van Halen to Guns n’ Roses, from the Black Crowes to Ratt, most rock bands started after 1975 would probably list Aerosmith as an influence some way. 

What is funniest about his post is that he calls his opinions "indisputable facts."  Saying that "Crying" "Amazing" and "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" are songs that suck isn’t really a fact – its an opinion.  I don’t care for those songs… in fact, I think they kinda suck myself, but I also know there’s a LOT of people who like that song.  "I Don’t Wanna…" hit number one on the singles chart, so apparently most people disagree with the idea that the song sucks.  Of course, N’Sync and Milli-Vanilla were also number one artists at some point, so you really can’t go on the tastes of the American public.

What really made me scratch my head is the the comment of "Once a band releases a “greatest hits”, they might as well stop releasing new music."  That just doesn’t make sense.  His precious Rolling Stones released numerous "greatest hits" compilations before Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup, Some Girls and Tattoo You.   The Beatles had several compilations out before Sgt. Peppers and all that followed…  Springsteen has released some great albums after his Greatest Hits CD came out in ’95 and Bob Dylan – ha!  Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits came out in 1967 – BEFORE John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, New Morning, Blood on the Tracks, The Basement Tapes, Time out of Mind, Love and Theft and his newest, Modern Times.

Apparently this guy thinks that all of these artists should have stopped putting out albums simply because they put together a greatest hits compilation.  Good job, buddy!

You gotta love blogging – it gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions, but it makes my blood boil just a little bit when opinions are given as facts!

2 thoughts on “Rock This Way”

  1. I distinctly rembmeer the first time I heard Keeps Gettin’ Better , Christina Aguilera’s first single since her Back to Basics album. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, chatting with a friend online over an instant messenger. My friend, knowing I was the biggest Christina Aguilera fan he had ever met, told me he couldn’t believe that he almost forgot to send me the YouTube link to the audio recording of her new single. I was immediately full of anxiety. While Christina had steadily earned more of my respect and trust (beginning with her appearance on the reinterpretation of Lady Marmalade and culminating in an earth-shattering performance of James Brown’s It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World at the 2007 Grammy Awards), I was both excited by the possibility of a new moving recording and nervous about the chance that she might finally make a big mistake. My immediate impression was that the song sounded too much like the rest of what is on the radio, which tends to compensate for the singer’s lack of developed talent by focusing heavily on production and synthesizer sounds. This was absolutely confusing to me because Christina is clearly booming with talent, and I felt that this song was far too mainstream and stifling for her abilities. Yes, the song is fun electro-pop, but hasn’t the girl proven she deserves better by now?I immediately grew concerned that this might be the first track of her upcoming official album, but was relieved it was simply a promotional track for her greatest hits album. After all, most artists probably don’t put nearly as much into a promotional single to be tacked onto a greatest hits album as they do for a lead single of a full-fledged album, right? Then, I found out that this album was going to be a Target exclusive, and I would not be able to simply purchase the songs separately as mp3 downloads (which is the usual way I go about circumventing the obnoxious recent practice of using a few new tracks to sucker people into purchasing an entire greatest hits CD or repurchasing an album in its deluxe edition format that is released some months after the original edition). This made me very mad. As a fan of Christina’s, I obviously own all of the old tracks on this album, and I am not going to be pleased about having to buy the entire album just for the four new tracks added onto the end. Regardless, I gave in and bought it tonight because I was too curious not to.The four new tracks do seem to give me a better understanding of Christina’s artistic vision for her upcoming album (assuming they are meant to be a preview). The first new track is Genie 2.0 a swirling techno-style interpretation of the breakthrough single. Christina admits that this single has been both a blessing and a curse, as it springboarded her career into the stratosphere, yet it is part of the reason why many people resist labeling her a serious artist. However, instead of distancing herself from the song and refusing to perform it anymore, she has chosen to take control over it and twist it to her liking. She first did this in her Stripped tour, where she performed the song as a rock reinterpretation with demonic sexual aggression. In this instance, the song is brilliantly realized with a subdued, yet unrelenting sexuality reminiscent of Madonna’s Erotica album. Next is Keeps Gettin’ Better , which is probably the only new track that would have been best left out in lieu of something more convincing. It was clearly created both to promote the concept of the greatest hits album and to stand as a song representing for strong women in relationships, but it’s too much the former and not enough of the latter. Dynamite is easily the strongest of the bunch, and would have been a much better single to release. And while it sounds better suited to the likes of Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, or Madonna, Christina interprets it within the constraints of futuristic dance music very well. The final new track is You Are What You Are (Beautiful) , which is a reinterpretation of her most praised single, to date. The track sounds almost nothing like the original, and seems to be more about sonic experimentation than maintaining the message of the song. It’s interesting, but the monotone, computerized nature prohibits it from having anything close to the emotional impact of the original.While this greatest hits album is a bit premature (considering that Christina only has three full-fledged albums under her belt), it does provide some interesting new work to listen to. While the new songs fit into their intended genre very well, they could easily have been performed just as convincingly by someone of far lesser talents. In fact, there is sometimes so much manipulation of Christina’s voice that it’s anyone’s guess as to who is singing. And that’s the problem. The point of listening to Christina Aguilera is her voice. It’s what defines her. It’s the very reason she has a legion of fans. What’s even more odd is that Linda Perry produced all four of these new songs, and yet she is the one who coached Aguilera to use her voice to its greatest potential during their sessions recording for the Stripped and Back to Basics albums. Hopefully, her reported upcoming futuristic album will allow her to accomplish her goal, yet retain the rich voice she is known and loved for.

  2. / Color me unimpressed. I hate it when she does that forecd growl. Christina can sing beautifully, but more than half the term she just plain overdoes it.

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