Steven Tyler's Solo Set Still Heavy on Aerosmith Classics
Photos by Francisco Montes
Revention Music Center
July 29, 2016
Just a few days after his debut solo album topped the Billboard Country charts, rock icon Steven Tyler brought his "Out On a Limb" tour to Houston to regale fans with a mix of classics, newfangled country and anecdotes from his many years on the road.
Beginning his set with “Sweet Emotion” and “Crying,” Tyler followed these Aerosmith classics with back-to-back Beatles covers, successfully turning Bayou Music Center into one big karaoke bar.
Nearly 30 minutes into his set, Tyler finally performed one of his new songs — the titular single from his solo record We’re All Somebody From Somewhere.
A celebration of the American melting pot, “We’re All Somebody...” namedropped American cities and cuisines with Tyler’s signature vocals soaring above a funky beat that didn’t sound like anything in Aerosmith’s repertoire.
Supplemented by harmonies (and harmonica) from the talented Suzie McNeal at his side, “We’re All Somebody” made for another hit. But the rest of his new material wasn’t nearly as interesting or well-received by the crowd.
Tyler went on to perform “Red, White & You,” which fell into the category of made-for-radio country and marked the most cringeworthy song of the evening. Luckily, Tyler incorporated plenty of Aerosmith cuts into the evening and spent more time telling stories than sharing his new sound.
He spoke of being called a Mick Jagger lookalike by Rolling Stone, a comparison he didn’t initially welcome but came to appreciate; of his affinity for Janis Joplin’s daring onstage antics, especially given her gender and the era in which she performed; and of Aerosmith’s future, albeit vaguely.
“The band is not broken up,” Tyler said as the crowd roared its approval. “The press loves to stir the shit, but the band isn’t broken up.”
Country music, Tyler said, has always been a big influence, both to him personally and to Aerosmith’s music as a whole. But Aerosmith’s sound was always rooted in rock and roll, which could explain why Tyler’s new sound seemed so uninspired despite how much talent abounded onstage Friday night.
On their own, his new songs aren’t strong enough to stand. But backed by the front man’s icon and with a few Aerosmith songs peppered into the set list, Tyler will continue to see success touring long into the future, even after Aerosmith’s (supposed) upcoming farewell tour in 2017.
So How Was the Opener? There wasn’t one. Tyler went onstage at 8:15 pm, and the concert was over by 10 o’clock, leaving me plenty of time to wander around downtown for the rest of the evening. Maybe I’m getting old, but that was pretty sweet. I would attend many more weeknight concerts if I knew I could get home at a reasonable hour.
I’m Down (Beatles cover)
Come Together (Beatles cover)
We’re All Somebody From Somewhere
Piece Of My Heart (Janis Joplin cover)
Love Is Your Name
I Make My Own Sunshine
What It Takes
Red, White & You
My Own Worst Enemy
Walk This Way
Janie’s Got a Gun
Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
Livin’ On the Edge
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