Aerosmith Get Back in Saddle at Kaaboo Before Chaos Erupts

Kaaboo Festival (Day 2)

It took almost two days and dozens of performances at this year’s Kaaboo festival before Aerosmith took the Sunset Cliffs on Saturday night at the Del Mar Race Track for the ultimate highlight of the weekend. Performing for the first time since their show in Moscow last September, Aerosmith were probably the one band that affluent parents at the festival could agree on seeing with their children (who likely spent the bulk of the festival ignoring them).

Little did we know that the sweet emotion would eventually turn sour when a big portion of the crowd clashed with cops in cramped venue of over 20,000 people. After Aerosmith's set, a late night riot broke out around 11 p.m. when fans tried to mob their way in to see Lucadris followed by Steve Aoki inside a packed warehouse, dubbed the ENCORE stage. It seemed odd for a crowd that was so astonishingly mellow for a festival. But of course when you have two main acts (Aerosmith and Chainsmokers) letting out at the same time with fans scrambling to the next big set that happens to be at an indoor stage, trouble is bound to ensue. The melee between officers and fans ended in four arrests and some festival goers getting maced by police. We’re hazarding to guess it was the most violent 10 minutes of action Del Mar has ever experienced.

But before all that bullshit, there was a brief moment of cohesion amongst generations of fans who rallied around the main act for the sake of rocking out to the Bad Boys From Boston.

As one of the last living rock bands with their classic lineup intact, there's a sense that we hope to see them while we still can, given that the Grim Reaper of rock-n-roll is robbing us of their contemporaries left and right. Even guitarist Joe Perry had a close call recently after collapsing on stage during a set with the supergroup Hollywood Vampires back in July. But the duo of Tyler and Perry were definitely alive and kicking on Saturday. Appearing from the stage wings just before their 8:25 p.m. start time. Tyler came out with his shades on, swinging his microphone stand like a pinata stick, his arms covered in painted tattoo designs reminiscent of one of the many mammoth art installations smothering the walkways of the festival.

Jumping right in with “Back in the Saddle,” the scarf-wearing frontman alternated between sticking the mic stand out towards the crowd and pointing to the sound engineer on the side of the stage to turn his mic up. The rest of the band sizzled as they warmed up. Perry’s guitar slowly crept up to a suitable decibel level that was barely loud enough to rattle the windows of the angry neighbors in their cliffside homes overlooking the Kaabooian bacchanal. The combination of guitarist Brad Whitford, drummer Joey Kramer, and bassist Tom Hamilton never seemed to waiver as they thundered through a tried and true salvo of hits that leap frogged back and forth through the timeline of their career.

The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were on full blast between the scatty swing of “Love in an Elevator” to “Cryin’” and back to the ‘70s with the screeching soul of “Last Child.” In between the back to back hit-fest, the band spliced in their cover versions of the Fleetwood Mac hit “Stop Messin Around,” with Perry on vocal duty, Beatles and “Come Together” and Tiny Bradshaw’s “A Train Kept A-Rollin.”

Standing in front of a Great Wall of Marshall half stacks, the band rotated through their shiny stables of guitars, appearing from the wings with new axes about every other tune. Meanwhile, Tyler was busy bouncing around in tight stretchy pants, showing off abs that still look pretty good for a 68 year-old grandpa. He also appeared to be in great shape vocally, singing with conviction on key classics “Same of Old Song” and “Walk This Way.” He even got some surf bros and karaoke buffs misty eyed during the piano plunking Armageddon ballad “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” For the encore, Tyler emerged in front of an all white piano to take us home with “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion” washing over the crowd like a wave, after which Tyler said “Thanks, Kaaboo, we’ll see you next year.” Could this mean the band has another trip planned on tour circuit next year? So far, it's anyone's guess. 

Despite the chaos that happened after their set, the presence and power of Aerosmith proved that even after a year off, the can still jump on stage and tear it up without breaking a sweat.

Back in the Saddle
Love in an Elevator
Last Child
Living on the Edge
Toys in the Attic
Same Old Song
Rag Doll
Stop Messin' Around (Fleetwood Mac cover)
I Don't Wan to Miss a Thing
Come Together (Beatles cover)
Walk This Way
Train Kept A-Rollin' (Tiny Bradshaw cover)

Dream On
Sweet Emotion

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