The Meadows, Gardens By The Bay, Singapore
It's practically unthinkable to believe that America's greatest rock n' roll band, with a whopping 40-year history has never visited the country of Singapore. A country so well equipped, wealthy, systematic, even futuristic could have, should have, entertained this band a few times in their glittering four decade career?
Needless to say, The Meadows at Gardens by the Bay, saw people queuing from 4:30pm on a very hot 32-degree afternoon to witness this extra special event. Sat down on the concreted path of the stunning Gardens by the Bay, waiting eagerly for the gates to open, buttocks poached on the sizzling ground, the anticipation in the air was almost too much to handle. Singapore's locals, themselves garnering a reputation for flowering a new musical generation of late, bantered as to which song they thought Aerosmith would open with... 'Toys In The Attic', 'Love In An Elevator', 'Jaded' (really)?
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Two nights previously, Aerosmith had performed at the Singapore Social Awards, at the world famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. This 24 hour awards event was all about the new world of social media, a nod of the hat to those who embrace it and to all it has achieved in the past year. In recognition of its everyday usage and the talent that has emerged from this new form of connectivity, the awards were streamed live on YouTube for the world to watch as it all unfurled before their eyes.
The Gardens by the Bay is without doubt the most breathtaking, almost surreal environment you could ever hope to watch an outdoor concert of this magnitude. After the polished ‘warm-up' performance at the awards bash, this was surely to be a special and historical event. Lingering behind tonight's main focal point, the giant black-box looking stage, towered the impressive Marina Bay Sands hotel. To the left of the stage the financial buildings of the affluent Boat Quay shone it's bright neon lights relentlessly down over the city, and over to the right, the Singapore Flyer, the city's smaller version of the London Eye.
For what appeared to be an eternity waiting for the Bad Boys from Boston to make their explosive entrance, there was certainly plenty to look at while sipping on £5 half-pint beers. Oh yeah, for those of you who don't know – Singapore is ferociously expensive!
Support band Euphoria Audio, from Wakefield, England, took to the stage at 8:15pm, disconcertingly late, but they did a fine job of holding the crowd's attention. The voice of frontman, Matt Shirty, resonated through the air and altogether hit home with some soft poppy soft rock, which got the 12,000 strong crowd oiled up for the main act.
At 9:35pm, the lights go out, the central giant screen presents a short but punchy chronological diary of the headliner's extensive career. Singapore is trembling with excitement when the spotlight powers down onto the end of the catwalk through the smoke to reveal Steven Tyler and lead guitarist, Joe Perry, glad in glittering jackets and all the hippie chic you could ever hope for from the Toxic Twins of Boston.
Tyler's unmistakable dirty rasp shrieks "1,2,3,4..." as we are blasted into the thumping intro of 'Love In An Elevator'. Tyler spins and twirls donning thick red-rimmed sunglasses and over-sized hat with signature scarf-clad microphone stand, while the mysterious looking Perry rocks on the Gibson looking like he was born with that fine instrument in his hand.
Due to a lung infection during the Australia leg of the tour, bassist Tom Hamilton returned to the States and was replaced by David Hull, a long time friend and stand-in for the band. Guitarist Brad Whitford, decked out in his modern cowboy look of late, held the fort with his incredibly tight and technical style of playing and Joey Kramer, one of the rock's most recognised drum players, pounded solidly and kept the Aerosmith machine on the rails for the entire set.
Over the next hour and 45 minutes, Aerosmith deliver hit after hit. Only one song from their latest studio album, 'Music From Another Dimension', was on offering tonight, 'Oh Yeah'. But this was no ordinary gig. Singapore had been waiting forty long years for this moment and its residents demanded to hear the classics, the rock n' roll groundbreakers they grew up on.
So cue the classics – 'Draw The Line', 'Jaded', 'Cryin'', 'Janie's Got A Gun', 'Livin' On The Edge', 'Rag Doll', 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing', 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)'. Musically the band is tight, flawless execution at all times, all the while having tremendous fun in the mix. Tyler's vocals are better than ever which becomes particular apparent during ‘What It Takes' where the windows of Marina Bay Sands are surely shattered at his highest vocal pitch of the night. The crowd are thoroughly appreciative of the delivery as he is rewarded with a thunderous applause and roar of approval for his efforts.
Sadly, for the more hardcore fans in the crowd, those with the singed buttocks, a shock is in store. The 5-hour wait stood at the barrier in front of stage is a misjudged and pointless exercise. Tyler and Perry spend the majority of the show performing at the very end of the runway interacting with the crowd, resulting in a near two hour show for those at the front staring at the back of their heroes heads. The crowd were quite clearly miffed as they resorted to watching the majority of the concert on the gigantic screens.
And so we come to the climactic rendition of 'Walk This Way', joined onstage by Japanese beat boxer, Hikakin and YouTube personality and dubstep street dancer, Marquese Scott who were in town for the awards ceremony. The crowd are whipped into a frenzy as the lights finally go down and the band walks off into the shadows of backstage.
We are left with very little time to scream for an encore as Aerosmith roadies are seen wheeling out a white grand piano down the runway, creating a rippling wave of celebratory approval from the crowd. Most people knew what was coming.
Tyler emerges, head and finger pointing up to the sky and focusing on the awe-inspiring full-moon. Tyler takes a seat at the end of the runway and cheekily informs the crowd: "Somebody told me that if you yell 'Marina Bay Sands' loud enough everybody gets a free room tonight!" As the screams multiply they are quickly drowned out by the ethereal sounds of Tyler's piano, as 1973s hit 'Dream On' is unveiled. Aerosmith's first real big hit, played for the first time in Singapore after forty years of patient restraint. No doubt a proud moment for Tyler, who penned the timeless classic at the tender age of 17.
To end the evening, the final song in the encore is 'Sweet Emotion'. Normally the signature bass line delivered by Tom Hamilton, tonight is executed by his stand-in David Hull. The rest of the band appear relaxed and jovial on stage as Joe Perry takes his time in whipping out his talkbox to create the electronic vocal sounds for the legendary intro. Tyler shakes the maracas tirelessly as he candidly teases Perry to hurry up. The song soon gets the crowd pumped up once more, with fast jets of smoke firing from the stage and catwalk into the humid Singapore air, immersing the band and engulfing the crowd who are responding with deafening and seemingly deserved applause.
This magical Saturday night comes to a close on a high and Singapore is grateful for a first-class show from the band that have been dubbed America's greatest rock n' roll band. Tyler exclaims: "I shouldn't say goodnight, I should hello my new friends!" before leaving the stage, shirtless with bounding energy. And Singapore clearly appreciated his heartfelt words as they were promised a return visit from Boston's finest in the very near future.
Fifty-seven minutes of the concert can be viewed right here...
Love in an Elevator
Draw the Line
Janie's Got a Gun
Livin' on the Edge
Stop Messin' Around (Fleetwood Mac cover)
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
No More No More
What It Takes
Come Together (The Beatles cover)
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Walk This Way