Live: Aerosmith, a Social Commentary





It's funny how, after indulging in a couple cold ones out at the Jones Beach Amphitheatre, Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like A Lady" finally revealed itself to me for being what it really is: a subversive expose of the suffocating and restrictive nature of gender roles; a rock 'n roll call to arms to band together and fight oppression! Furthermore it dawned on me (and I can't believe I've been here-to-fore so blind) that frontman Steven Tyler has, for decades, selflessly placed himself on the front lines of this battle to break down barriers - he, the pouty-lipped, stretch-pants donning scarf-dancer. His commitment to force classic rock listeners everywhere to question their narrow reality by wondering, "Is he a man? Is he a woman? I mean, the dude looks like a lady!?" - well, it's inspirational. Gloria Steinem, eat your bleeding heart out...


I found out at Saturday's concert, that each Aerosmith song is not unlike an onion, with layer upon layer of meaning to be unraveled. Take, for instance, "Love In An Elevator." Now obviously, this is a metaphor - elevators are used for transportation in buildings from higher floors to lower floors, and conversely, from lower floors back up to higher floors. They go both ways. Do you see what's goin' on here?? They go both ways. Am I suggesting that every member of Aerosmith is bisexual? I think so, yes, but either way they clearly support this alternative lifestyle, and risk alienating themselves every time they boldly step to the mic to perform it. I must admit, I was surprisingly heartened by the crowds' unanimously positive reaction to this "Love in an Elevator" song - everyone singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs and pumpin' their fists like we were all at some 1960's protest rally. "Fight the MAN!" I yelled, at which point the gentleman in front of me shot back a suspicious glance, and you know, he was right: "fight the man" is waytoo gender-specific a phrase for me to still be using in 2001. Right on.

Frankly, there are so many songs from the show to highlight for their responsible social commentary, I really have to just select a random handful:

"Pink" - do most manly men like the color pink? No. Well, fuck that social construct!

"Cryin'" - these guys sure aren't afraid to get in touch with their feminine sides and shed a few

"Under My Skin" - dude, racism sucks, we're all just the same under our skin

"Rag Doll" - I think their Marxist bent in this song is...hello...pretty damn obvious

"Fly Away From Here" - hey, man, let's take off all our clothes and start a commune up in the mountains where we have no possessions and eat berries

I mean, I get all giddy just thinking about it. Needless to say, I left the Aerosmith show at Jones Beach feeling a helluva lot more positive about the future of our human race, what with Tyler, Perry & Co. paving the way. So thank you, boys, for being the voice of socially conscious generations, and keep writing those protest songs. I'll sure be listening. I don't want to miss a thing!

The set list is as follows:

Beyond Beautiful

Love in an Elevator

Jaded

Just Push Play

Big 10" Record

Fly Away from Here

Pink

Mama Kin

Dream On

Rats in the Cellar

Under My Skin

Janie's Got a Gun

Same Old Song and dance

Back in the Saddle

I Don't Want to Miss a Thing

Cryin'

Walk This Way

Uncle Salty

Sweet Emotion

Living on the Edge

Train Kept a Rollin'

Source: Ann N. Bowles

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Live: Aerosmith, a Social Commentary