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Heading out for the show, everything looked like it was heading for the worse. About the same time we began the drive out to the Woodlands, the rains came falling down, hard. Needless to say, this was going to put a damper on a show where half the audience was outdoors.
Upon arriving at the Pavilion,I quickly learned that Fuel had already performed and that Bare, Jr's set was running late due to the weather. I wasn't too disheartened about missing Fuel, because I was excited to see Bare, Jr, who were putting on a great performance.
It was interesting to see an up and comer on the same bill as Aerosmith. The members of Bare, Jr. are all talented in their own right which added to the overall enjoyability of the show. Everyone who made it over to the "2nd Stage" was treated to some wonderful Alt. Country and rock music. They played a lot of great songs including "Why Do I Need a Job" which is the current song on the local radio. The band really showed a lot of heart putting such a fine performance in such conditions. The only downfall of the set was that the set was played in almost complete darkness. This definitely one of those moments that defines a young band and shows you where they stand. Bare, Jr. did a splendid job of not throwing in the towel.
After a short wait, Aerosmith took the stage. They had a complex set up complete with a video display behind the band, ramps, and various other props. The great thing about this night was that the eye candy was just a small piece of the night. The music was the main attraction. From the opening notes of the first song, "Beyond Beautiful," you knew this was going to be a great set. The song was quickly followed up by "Jaded," the first single from the new album, Just Push Play. The set was definitely front heavy with the new songs, which were happily put aside early to make way for the ultimate walk through rock history. It's only at a show like this that you realize how many amazing songs a band can write in a lifetime. Despite not playing past favorites such as: Janie's Got a Gun, Dude (Looks Like a Lady), Rag Doll, and Angel, the set still carried a magical aura to it. Enough so that people stood in the pouring rain to sing along and hear the music of the past 2 generations come together. On this one night, the generation gap disappeared completely.
As "Jaded" came to an end, the unmistakable sound of Steven Tyler's wail to open "Love In An Elevator." As soon as this classic was played, you could feel the energy rise. It was a great moment.
One of the treats about seeing this band is the mix of sounds. The earlier tracks have a bluesier, roadhouse rock feel, while the others have a more refined straight ahead rock feel. The mixture of sounds shows how well the band as aged and adapted to the changing world. It's refreshing to see a band actually evolve and still stay on the top.
After a while I decided to walk out to the lawn area to experience the show from the rain drenched hill. It was great, warm summer rain, timeless hits, and thousands of people singing every word to songs that are as much a part of their life as any memory. It was really a special feeling. It was amazing that a band in it's 4th decade of performing can still get it together and out play so many younger bands.
Steven Tyler was especially looking well. I was blown away by him swinging out over the crowd on a rope duing "Back In The Saddle." This band is in the best shape of their lives and have no problem keeping the energy going throughout their entire 2 hour-plus set.
Personal highlights for me on the evening were "Walk This Way" which was one of my favorite songs from my childhood and "Sweet Emotion" which was definitely a rocker in High School. It's amazing how you can basically draw a timeline of your life through Aerosmith songs. It's definitely something very few bands can or have accomplished.
Even as people prepared for their long walk back to their cars, the morale was high. The only complaint anyone had was that the rain kept them from playing on the lawn stage they had set up and that they didn't play some assorted favorite song of someone. These were all trivial complaints, even the people making them agreed. This was an amazing show that no one in attendance will forget for some time.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.