Steven Tyler brought his Out On A Limb tour to Dallas backed by the Loving Mary Band.
01-Aug-2016: Whether rock or country, or fronting Aerosmith or on his own, Steven Tyler is always Steven Tyler. Yes, Steven Tyler can be used as an adjective to describe someone who embodies over-the-top fame and has learned how to be a rock star.
Besides being the face and voice of one of rock music’s most successful bands, he has written and recorded a country album that opened its first week at No. 1 on the country charts. It wasn’t just based on his name, though, as he co-wrote the songs with highly-acclaimed songwriters in Nashville. He’s also backed by Loving Mary, a sensational band in their own right.
The packed audience on the Out On A Limb tour at the beautiful Music Hall in Fair Park burst into a voracious round of applause as they took the stage while a video played overhead. The montage of sound bites ended with a young Steven Tyler talking about still rocking when he’s old and gray.
The pro-Aerosmith crowd responded with enthusiasm as he started the show with “Sweet Emotion.” It had a slightly different sound with Suzie McNeil on a rocking harmonica and Rebecca Lynn Howard on fiddle. It segued into “Cryin'” as he still hit the high notes in his four-octave tenor range.
Steven talked about the influences in his life such as The Kinks and the Rolling Stones, then delved into two Beatles’ covers. “I’m Down” was a hybrid country/rock version while “Come Together” was played Aerosmith style.
The title track from the new album, “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere,” was rock influenced. They played a verse of Sly Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” showing how genres are merging.
Still talking about influences, he pulled off an incredible cover of “Piece Of My Heart” by the late Janis Joplin. Guitarist Andrew Mactaggart and Rebecca showcased a beautiful duet during this song. His friendship with Mick Fleetwood was the reason behind singing “Rattlesnake Shake” from Fleetwood Mac’s early days as a British Blues band.
He spoke of meeting Joe Perry by accident and saying, “There’s my Keith (Richards).” In the line of the night, he began another tale by saying, “No good story ever started with somebody eating a salad.”
The Aerosmith fans were again delighted with “Jaded.” He followed with several songs from the new album, starting with “Love Is Your Name.” Written by the outstanding Lindsey Lee, it fit his voice and style perfectly.
Tyler grabbed a ukulele and serenaded the audience before branching into “I Make My Own Sunshine.” The country song was followed by a countrified Aerosmith track, “What It Takes.”
“Red, White & You” sounded like a Rascal Flatts song and was a hit with the crowd. A story of his rehab preceded “My Own Worst Enemy,” a country/rock ballad.
Steven, now on piano, began playing “Dream On” with strong emotion in his vocals. The crowd danced away to this classic hit. He played the bongo drum to start “Walk This Way” to finish the set. The audience sang along as everyone in Loving Mary jammed away.
After a quick break, the band was back for an encore. They played “Janie’s Got A Gun,” but in a much slower tempo, almost like a dirge. Most people were waiting for the version they know, but they seemed to like the different take on the rock standard.
Another hybrid country song from We’re All Somebody From Somewhere was “Only Heaven.” The spicy guitar work gave it a different flavor. Rebecca fiddled “Orange Blossom Special” to start “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” the final song of the night. The extended jam continued the country-modified version of it, with harmonica duets and duals, excellent guitar solos, and Steven continuing his musical calisthenics on stage.
Steven Tyler will never be confused with George Jones or Merle Haggard, but the blend of genres and styles thrilled his fans. Several of his new songs could have been sung by Lady Antebellum or Thomas Rhett as they were well-written country songs.
He was still the same Steven Tyler, carrying around his mic stand adorned with scarves and gyrating whenever he got the chance. He carefully chose Loving Mary to play with him on tour, and their talent helped make the show a success.
Steven Tyler is on tour through September.
Special thanks to the Music Hall at Fair Park.
Joe Guzman of National Rock Review was on hand to record the event.