Jumping, literally, into an electric revival of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” in front of salivating crowds across America seems second nature to legendary musician Steven Tyler. The elements aligned perfectly at McCaw Hall when he rolled into Seattle, blending the Aerosmith frontman’s raspy voice with a mostly female backup tribe, The Loving Mary Band, along his 19-city (sort of solo) Out on a Limb tour.
The Maui-loving shock rocker channeled every last ounce of chutzpah in his 68-year-old lungs to belt out the classic hits his fans have come to know and love. Opening with “Sweet Emotion” and “Cryin'” before “Love is Your Name” and the catchy island tune, “I Make My Own Sunshine,” Tyler chatted with the crowd in between nostalgia.
At one point, Tyler even asked the camera man onstage to zoom into the crowd and focus on a long-bearded concertgoer. He told raunchy stories (what else would you expect?), reflected on his first-ever record contract, threw some shade at not receiving royalties, and then paid homage to his pals Joplin and the Beatles.
In case anyone was wondering, Tyler was very clear: he is not abandoning Rock for Country. “Why can’t I do both?” he asked, sounding blatantly irritated.
Tyler told the packed crowd that he owed his musical chops and inspiration to his late-father, 95-year-old Victor Tallarico.
“I can’t help but blame my father because he went to Julliard and I grew up under the piano, literally…When they brought me home from the hospital I was put – apartments back then were 8×10 living room. That was it. So the piano, my father would play piano, classical practice. And then go off and have his teaching, the people he taught. So I grew up listening to the notes of music. So melody’s always been my forte.”
During the show, he also revealed a surprising fact: It was working on American Idol that allowed him to purchase his Maui home after two seasons of the popular show. Not sure we believe the guy was broke before American Idol, but he seemed rather stoked by his stroke of reality TV luck.
Other notable songs during his Seattle date included, “Only Heaven,” “Jaded,” and “Dream On.” Fans expecting him to “Walk This Way” were pleasantly impressed as he included the hit in his encore alongside “Janie’s Got a Gun.” The show officially ended on a high note because, hey, “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere” and then the Tyler “Train Kept A-Rollin'” to the next tour stop.
All photos courtesy of Steph Brusig for The Seattle Lesbian.