On Tuesday, July 7, rockers of all ages flooded the Santa Barbara Bowl to see legendary classic rock band Aerosmith play a sold-out show to thousands of die-hard fans, producing one of the venue’s most celebrated concerts.
Opening act and fellow classic rock band Living Colour kicked off the night around 6:30 p.m. Unfortunately, most of the Bowl’s seats were still empty, and it became clear early on that the show’s attendees were coming to see Aerosmith. While their live set sounded great, Living Colour lacked the stage presence and theatrics fans were anticipating from headliners Aerosmith. By the time Living Colour neared the end of their set, however, more fans had piled in and were ready to rock. The band ended on their hit single from1988, “Cult of Personality,” which really got the crowd amped up–especially when lead singer Corey Glover jumped into the audience to sing alongside showgoers.
When Aerosmith took the stage, the Bowl was buzzing with excitement. They stormed the stage with the charisma one would expect from a band that has been selling out stadiums for decades. Theatrical as ever, lead singer and renown frontman Steven Tyler, with his long wavy hair and patterned bellbottoms, got the audience hyped up from the band’s very first song–and things only went up from there. By the time the band kicked into their single “Rag Doll” early on in their set, the crowd was going wild. Not a single person in the Bowl could be seen sitting down through the group’s performance.
Tyler’s vocal range and wails are as impressive as ever, and like Cher with her many costumes, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford changed guitars every song. Perhaps the most celebrated of the musicians however was drummer Joey Kramer’s magnificent solo halfway through the band’s set, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. With solos, visual effects, amplifiers galore, Aerosmith’s performance, and the crowd’s excitement was just as awe-inspiring today as I suspect it was 30 years ago.