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Aerosmith – Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland, 2007-07-07

2007-07-09

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Warning: This is a VERY long post, but I just had to write down everything I could remember, since it was such a great night. :)

Saturday night I saw Aerosmith in Helsinki. My wife and I flew there from Sweden, since they didn’t come to Stockholm this tour. We felt that we’d better take the opportunity since they haven’t been to Europe since 1999, and it’s been four and a half years since the last time we saw them. Anyway, this was our 11th time seeing Aerosmith. Yes, we’re huge fans. :)

The concert started at 9.24pm with an intro movie on the screen showing clips from throughout their career. Then suddenly they were all on stage and launched into ”Love in an Elevator”. A great opener in my opinion. The stage had a catwalk extending out from the middle of the stage and into the audience, and also two ramps on either side of the stage. This was great, because it allowed everyone to get a great view. We were on Joe’s side, about 10 meters from the stage.

After ”Elevator” they did ”Same Old Song and Dance”. This made me very happy because I haven’t seen it in the setlists that much lately, and I think it’s a great live song. Steven’s harmonica solo in ”Cryin’” was great! I wasn’t able to see if he threw the harmonica into the audience like he used to, cause he was facing the other way on the catwalk at the moment. Then they did ”Eat the Rich”, probably my favorite song from ”Get a Grip” and also because I can play a decent version of it on guitar myself. ;) That riff is just so cool, and the lyrics are hysterical. The missus and I were singing along at the top of our lungs!

”I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is perhaps not the finest Aero song in history, but it has a special meaning to me and my wife from the year we met, so it was nice to hear it and relive some old memories. It didn’t have the orchestra intro, instead they did the piano intro like in the ”Animal Crackers” version from the Armageddon soundtrack.

Next up was ”Jaded”, not a favorite either, but it was cool anyway because Steven spent the better part of the song on the ramp by us. He threw a hat he was wearing into the audience, and he was asking the people in the seats to stand up. This always seems to happen at concerts in Europe, in the States everyone is always standing, but here it’s very common that people remain seated for an entire show. Personally I don’t see the fun in that, but I guess everyone’s different.

”What it Takes” was next and Steven did the first verse a cappella like he usually does. His voice sounded really good throughout the show. I was happy to hear ”Back in the Saddle”, but I wish they would have included another song or two from ”Rocks”. It was great to hear ”Baby Please Don’t Go”, since we haven’t seen them since they released ”Honkin’ on Bobo”, and this was the first time we heard it live. It sounded awesome, and Steven started it on the harmonica.

I think it was right before ”Baby Please Don’t Go” that Steven did a short solo blues number with just him on song and their keyboard player Russ Irwin accompanying him. I didn’t recognize the song but it must have been an old blues standard, and it sounded really cool.

Then it was time for one of the highlights of the show: Steven and Joe sat down in chairs at the end of the catwalk, Joe with a 12-string acoustic guitar, and started up ”Hangman Jury”! I couldn’t believe it, cause I’ve never heard that one live either. It was soooooo good. They did a couple of verses and the chorus before segueing into ”Seasons of Wither”. The first verse and chorus was acoustic, and then the whole band joined in. I love the eerie sound of the main riff in ”Seasons”, and Brad Whitford’s little outro solo sounded great. The Brad sure has great tone!

Next up was ”Dream On”. Everytime I hear it can’t help thinking that Steven was only 18 when he wrote it. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and people brought out their lighters.

Then it was time for highlight number two: Before the show I had seen the sound guys testing a Gibson SG guitar. I thought this was interesting, cause I can’t recall ever seeing Joe using one. Well, he was using it for ”S.O.S. (Too Bad)”!!! I’ve never heard that one live before either and I couldn’t believe it! It was so good and the solo sounded great! It’s such a fun song, and I love the part where Steven sings ”I´m a rat rat”!

”Livin’ on the Edge” came next. Joe played a black double necked guitar for this one – really cool.

But then came the biggest surprise ever. Steven introduces Joe and says he will do a song now. I figured it was time for ”Stop Messin’ Around”, but man was I mistaken. Instead Joe said they were going to do a song they used to play when they first started out, and that he wasn’t even sure it was on an album! The song was the Yardbirds’ cover ”Think About It” (it is on an album – ”Night in the Ruts”)!!! I couldn’t believe my luck, that I would get to hear a song they haven’t played live more than a handful of times since the seventies! It was so fucking great! My wife and I were singing along to every word, but I think many didn’t know it. They did a little jam in it where Brad and Joe traded of playing lead. You could tell that they hadn’t done this song in a long time, because they kept eye contact the whole time. It was pretty cool to witness. It seems like they just decided to do the song on the fly, cause it was not on the original setlist. Joe said afterwards that ”this is what we in Boston call an almost-train wreck”, but I thought it sounded great! Aerosmith is best when they aren’t too rehearsed, and when they improvise a lot. Joe used his signature Les Paul with the Bigsby for this one.

After this unbelievable addition to the setlist Joe did do ”Stop Messin’ Around”, which I love. All the blues stuff is great, and Joe’s voice is really cool. Their touring keyboard player, Russ Irwin, got to do a piano solo which Joe helped him out with at the end. Steven played the harmonica for the entire song, but unfortunately, his mic didn’t work for the first solo.

Then Tom walked out on the catwalk for a short bass intro which turned into ”Sweet Emotion”. This song is always good live, and a sure crowd pleaser. The only thing I didn’t like about it was this weird synthesized effect they had going over the chorus. During Joe’s guitar solo he also ”played” this thing that looked kinda like an old transistor radio on a stand. I don’t know what it is, but he would make weird sounds with it by touching what looked like an antenna.

The last song before the encore was ”Draw the Line”. Now, this is my all time favorite Aerosmith live song, and I had kept my fingers crossed all week that they would keep it in the set for this show as well. I love the plexiglass Dan Armstrong guitar Joe uses for it, and Joe’s solo at the end is one of the coolest things ever. He’s out on the catwalk, and the solo ends with Joe beating the guitar with his shirt while confetti is shooting up from the catwalk. But the main solo was great too – Joe ended it by laying backwards over Joey’s drums while Joey played the beat with his drumsticks on Joe’s guitar!

After the guys went off stage a short movie with Aerosmith as cartoon characters fighting the devil played on the screen. The movie ended with Joey back on stage banging out the familiar intro to ”Walk This Way”. That is such a fun song and such a great way to end the show. Joe played his gold metallic Fender Stratocaster, and he was out on the ramp by us for quite a while. After the song they did the usual band member intros, with Steven doing the usual ”crawling on his belly like a reptile” bit for Joey Kramer. Steven ended by introducing Joe Perry (not ”Joe Fuckin’ Perry” as he always used to say back when I saw them alot). Joe then introduced ”the Deamon of Screamin’” Steven Tyler and with that the show was over. It was longer than I had expected – 1hr and 53mins.

Out of the eleven Aerosmith shows I’ve seen this easily ranks in the top three, which says alot being how I didn’t really have any expectations beforehand. Now I can’t wait for them to record their new album and hopefully come back on tour next year. One thing’s for sure though – our next trip to the States will be planned around an Aerosmith tour.

Setlist: (Source: AeroFANatic MSGBoard)

Start: 21.24

01 – Love In An Elevator
02 – Same Old Song And Dance
03 – Cryin’
04 – Eat The Rich
05 – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
06 – Jaded
07 – What It Takes
08 – Back In The Saddle
09 – Baby Please Don’t Go
10 – Hangman Jury / Seasons Of Wither
11 – Dream On
12 – S.O.S. (Too Bad)
13 – Livin’ On The Edge
14 – Think About It
15 – Stop Messin’ Around
16 – Sweet Emotion
17 – Draw The Line
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18 – Walk This Way

End Main Set: 23.07
End Encore: 23.17

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