On July 10th, Steven Tyler played to a sold-out crowd at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver during a stop along his …Out On A Limb tour. The Aerosmith frontman is out on the road all summer long throughout North America in promotion of his newly released solo project, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, which is the living rock legend’s official foray into country music. Along with introducing songs from his new record, Tyler performs a wide range of his classic originals and covers from his four decades long career.
To honor his die-hard Vancouver fans, Tyler dressed for the occasion as an honorary Canadian in a red shirt, white vest, and embroidered blue jeans. Amidst the deafening screams of the audience, the gypsy soul asked the audience if they want rock and roll or country. The verdict? They got both stylings and then some. The evening’s entertainment was a true testament to the blurred lines happening in the world music, in which genres mix and blend together. This works especially well for a musical vagabond like Tyler, who is known to dabble into a vast variety of genres—from rock and blues to country and folk.
The show’s set list spanned across Tyler’s entire discography of work. He paid tribute to the classic rock musicians who inspired him, like Fleetwood Mac (“Rattlesnake Shake”), Janis Joplin (“Mercedes Benz”/”Piece Of My Heart”) and The Beatles (“I’m Down”/”Oh! Darling”/”Come Together”), performed a few of Aerosmith’s greatest anthemic hits, including “Sweet Emotion,” “Cryin’,” “Jaded,” “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and a revamped rendition of “Janie’s Got A Gun,” and introduced a selection of songs from his new country side project, such as “Only Heaven,” “Love Is Your Name,” “I Make My Own Sunshine,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “RED, WHITE & YOU,” and the titular “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere.”
For this tour, Tyler invited the Nashville-based Loving Mary Band as his accompaniment, which includes Canada’s very own Suzie McNeil as the group’s accordionist and harmonica player. Besides swinging around his mic stand (adorned with his trademark scarves), Tyler also tinkered with instruments like the tambourine, ukulele, and grand piano. At 68, the rocker’s rambunctious on-stage energy and swagger continues to be unyielding and unparalleled. The Demon of Screamin’s wide-reaching and dynamic vocal range and signature yell was on full display, especially when he hit those notoriously high glory notes in “Dream On” with ease.
What makes this tour unique is that Tyler is exclusively playing smaller theater-sized venues as opposed to the arenas and stadiums he usually frequents, allowing him to get up close and personal with his fans. In-between songs, Tyler takes generous amounts of time to talk to the audience, sharing stories about the meaning and significance of the songs he performs. And in typical Tyler fashion, his speech is colored with rhymes and casually dropped expletives.
As a long-time fan of Aerosmith, which was one of my first introductions into the world of classic rock, all thanks to the asteroid song from Armageddon (also known as “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”), I was stoked to have had the opportunity to experience Steven Tyler live in such a rare, intimate setting. My mom, who had become a fan of Tyler’s free-spirited good nature and distinct vocal stylings through his stint as an American Idol judge, accompanied me to the show and was thoroughly entertained as well.
Fittingly, the night ended with a cover of ‘Train Kept A-Rollin'” by Tiny Bradshaw. Much like the song suggests, the living music legend vows to rock ’til he drops. If this concert was any indication, Steven Tyler is in the game for the long haul!
For …Out On a Limb tour dates, visit steventyler.com. Tyler’s new solo country album We’re All Somebody From Somewhere is now available on iTunes and other music retailers.
Feature image by Zack Whitford and concert videos by peterschs.