Aerosmith at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine. CANCELLED.
Aerosmith with special guest Cheap Trick. Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire. CANCELLED.
These two non-shows didn’t take place almost 30 years apart. I had tickets to see Aerosmith way the heck back when I was about 16. Man, oh man, was I looking forward to that show. I planned to take this cute girl to it and, whoa, did she get excited (in that way you can get excited only when you’re in your teens) when she saw those two tickets in the palm of my hand.
I heard it on radio station WBLM. I believe the word back then was “bummer”.
So I’ve had tickets to see Aerosmith & Cheap Trick for about a month. Now it’s me and The Wife who are excited. I’ve never seen Aerosmith and she’s never seen either group. To tell you the truth, I was psyched to see both bands as Cheap Trick is a boatload of fun in concert. Yea, there would have been a graying 40-something standing there screaming “Surrender” at the top of his lungs. No doubt about that!
Two nights ago, in the middle of getting my hair cut, I hear it on the salon radio. CANCELLED!! I wanted to toss out an F-bomb but the woman who cuts my hair is just too nice to have such things flung in her general direction.
I had sort of been planning on typing up several paragraphs of slobber about how much fun the show was, and how my voice is screwed from all that screaming, and how it was nice not to be the youngest person in the arena for a change, and I sort of miss the pot smoke at concerts, and how that guy behind me just wouldn’t shut the fuck up! No, that’s not gonna happen. I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to Toys In The Attic or Rocks or Live at Buddokan this morning. Nosiree….I went for the anti-Aerosmith.
I’ve never listened to a Neil Diamond record all the way through. Sure, I’m familiar with a bunch of his songs. He’s written a ton of ‘em, first as a Brill Building cohort and then during his own solo career. The man’s got a way with a melody, that’s for sure. Just by happenstance, a couple of days ago I read a Sasha Frere-Jones review of Diamond’s recent 12 Songs. I’d been sort of intrigued by this recording because of the whole Rick Rubin connection. I mean, Rubin had the ears to strip down Johnny Cash to his glorious essence. But Neil Diamond? What’ll he sound like if removed from all of those dramatic song climaxes?
Well, it turns out that he sounds great. I’m not kidding. I really did have my doubts, but no more. I’ll buy a freaking Justin Timberlake CD if Rubin is at the helm. First of all, he brings in a stellar (but quiet) band featuring Mike Campbell and Smokey Hormel (guitars) and Benmont Tench and Billy Preston on piano/organ. Then, the master stroke: he makes Diamond play the acoustic guitar (something related by Frere-Jones and something that Diamond bitched about during the recording process). What’s the big deal? Rubin figured that it would force Diamond to reign in his tendency to go over the top vocally.
Brilliant, is all I’ve got to say. Seriously, if you’d never heard the name “Neil Diamond” before and heard this record, you’d think he was an interesting singer with a deeply textured voice and some great songs.
I cannot believe I just wrote that.
Thanks a lot Steven Tyler.