Steven Tyler w/ Loving Mary – Sony Centre for the Performing Arts – September 13 , 2016
Photos and Review by: Darren Eagles
It was an odd night in the city of Toronto this past Tuesday at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Certified Rock n Roll icon and arguably one of the few “old guardians” of the dirty days of Rock, Steven Tyler rolled into town. But not with his venerable bad boys of Boston band mates Aerosmith, no, this time he brought along a country band. While letting that sink in might be a tough sell for his legions of fans worldwide, the reality was Tyler’s raspy vocals and time tested song writing chops lent well to new country sound that comes through on his just released country solo album “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere” . Hailing from Nashville, Tyler’s backing band, Loving Mary, is a 6 piece band headed by hometown artist, Suzie McNeil.
As the lights dimmed, the unmistakable wail of Tyler’s voice came crashing through the speakers at the soundboard as he yelled “Let’s Go”, signalling he was ready to get the train rolling. Opening the show with a pair of Aerosmith tunes, “Sweet Emotion” and “Cryin’”, the crowd was on their feet and never sat down. Probably the most stressful scenario for a band is to play their temporary frontman’s road worn and fan tattooed songs, and try to give them the life that his other band, the original band, gives them nightly on tour. While all the Aerosmith songs sounded different, a twang here, a fiddle or banjo there, the spririt and energy came through wonderfully. And Tyler pranced and posed his way around the stage as he always does, taking selfies with front row fans and interacting with all the ladies.
A large video screen behind the stage served as a photo album for Tyler to use to share interesting stories of his beginnings in the business, meeting Joe Perry, mowing the lawn in a Speed, less than sober backstage escapades etc. The setlist was nicely filled with Aerosmith work, along with some Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and an Erma Franklin cover of “Piece Of My Heart”. The band played 5 cuts off the new album including the first single “Love is Your Name”. Tyler seems to have settled into the role of fronting a country band nicely, even though the rock songs in the set fit him like a well worn pair of jeans.
A surprise announcment came from Tyler as he introduced the next song as Suzie McNeil’s hit Canadian Olympic anthem “Believe”. Clearly McNeil had no idea she would be performing that song this night. But she rose to the occasion and nailed a nearly perfect version for the hometown Canadian crowd
The nearly 2 hour show ended with a cover of Tiny Bradshaw’s, and more famously Aerosmith’s hit “Train Kept A-Rollin”. It was a great show, for fans of Aerosmith, fans of Tyler, and fans of good music played by talented musicians, country or otherwise.
(The Beatles cover)
(The Beatles cover)
Piece of My Heart
(Erma Franklin cover)
(Fleetwood Mac cover)
Love Is Your Name
I Make My Own Sunshine
What It Takes
We’re All Somebody From Somewhere
(Susie McNeil song)
My Own Worst Enemy
Walk This Way
Janie’s Got a Gun
It Ain’t Easy
Train Kept A-Rollin’
(Tiny Bradshaw cover)