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Monday Mid-Day Music Byte (J. Geils Band/Aerosmith Fenway Review)

Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band belted out a tune last night.

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler...
Photo by Christopher Evans

The Boston Herald review of Saturday night’s J. Geils Band/Aerosmith concert at Boston’s fenway park:

It happened. Lord, oh, lord, it actually happened.

After 40 years of rock, millions of dollars burnt on booze, pills, powders and hospital bills, and months of fresh infighting, Aerosmith made it to the stage at Fenway last night. And they (mostly) did the city proud.

Along with J. Geils Band and opener locals Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents (a cute little garage soul outfit), Aerosmith rocked the sold-out park.

Yes, there were moments that made the (not always) Bad Boys look like tools. Lame late singles “Falling in Love,” “Pink” and (seriously? ugh!) “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” wasted time needed for more “Toys in the Attic.” Joey Kramer’s drum solo surrounded by clouds of fog was a Spinal Tap moment. And Joe Perry’s guitar duel with a digitized version of himself, the exact same one from the ’09 Comcast Center show, was another sad, stupid ad for the band’s “Guitar Hero” game.

But there were many brilliant moments.

The set list was standard, as we basically got what every other crowd on the tour got – where was the expected, coulda-been-awesome Geils/Aerosmith collaboration? But most of the performance was a glitzy blitz of glammed-up, hammed-up stadium rock.

The show opened with a Denis Leary-narrated JumboTron video history of Aer-O-(expletive)-Smith and the band’s “Train Kept A-Rollin’ ” thunder clap. Then it lapsed into newer hits, with Tyler often struggling vocally. Some ruled – “What It Takes” began with Tyler a cappella before becoming a tasty, gooey sandwich of pop cheese and Rolling Stones leftovers. Some were awful – did I mention blob-of-vomit “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing?”

After the uneven pop came lots of top-notch rock. “Come Together” featuring a freaky Perry solo. An epic “Sweet Emotion.” “Baby, Please Don’t Go” with Tyler exclaiming, “Excuse me while I whip this out,” and grabbing his harmonica.

And the encore was even better. Tyler, whose voice was at its best by night’s end, in a Sox jersey at a white grand piano atop the Green Monster belting out “Dream On.” An extended “Walk This Way” (it takes a while to get from the Monster to center field) fired Brad Whitford and Perry’s tough, tight guitars.

Steven Tyler may have a “Big Ten Inch Record,” but he doesn’t have a guy named Magic Dick in his band.

The harmonica wizard, fab frontman Peter Wolf and the rest of the J. Geils Band rarely reunite, so when they do, they make damn sure it’s a blow-your-face-out house party. The band plus New York’s Uptown Horns delivered a set of rocks-off r & b steered by the wily Wolf – through the hour-plus set he was in and out of the crowd, tossing roses to the ladies or rhyming and rambling through Wolfa Goofa rants.

A good chunk of the crowd was specifically there for classic Geils – Dick honkin’ away on “First I Look at the Purse,” guitarist J. Geils ripping into “Detroit Breakdown,” and highlight “Must of Got Lost.” But the biggest cheers were for the ’80s hits – “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” Geils did the Top 40 tunes justice, but its heart is still in gritty, bar band stuff.

There was rampant speculation that the Fenway forum would induce the bands to perform together for a bit. Such was not the case however, because prior to the concert, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and J. Geils Band’s Peter Wolf got into a loud and public argument. It appears that the egomaniac Tyler did not want Wolf to use the crowd runway during his band’s performance. Wolf would have none of it and used it frequently. Aerosmith then would not let the Geils Band perform with them. Oh well, what’s Boston without a fight anyway!

There is not a lot of great footage of the J. Geils Band out there just yet, but in the meantime please enjoy these somewhat lacking clips of “Musta Got Lost” and “Give It To Me”. After that, the next clips of Aerosmith have better quality. The “Dream On” clip is notable because Steven Tyler performs from atop the famed left field wall known in Boston as the “Green Monstah”.

J. Geils Band – “Musta Got Lost”

J. Geils Band – “Give It To Me”

Denis Leary and “Train kept A Rollin”

Aerosmith – “Dream On”

Saturday Night Music Byte

Peter Wolf and Steven Tyler

In preparation for my attendance at this weekend’s long awaited J. Geils Band/Aerosmith concert at Boston’s storied Fenway Park, Lynnrockets will take a small break from music bytes devoted to the 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die and substitute a few songs from the aforementioned Boston based bands. Please enjoy.

J. Geils Band (Then 1972) – “Floyd’s Hotel” and “Hard Drivin’ Man”

J. Geils Band (Then 1974) – “Give It To Me”

J. Geils Band (Now 2009) – “Detroit Breakdown”

Aerosmith (Then 1974) – “Train Kept A Rollin'”

Aerosmith (Now 2004) – “Last Child”

Thursday Night Music Byte

The J. Geils Band (pronounced “Guiles”) is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts . The band played R&B-influenced blues-rock in the 1970s before moving towards a more pop-influenced sound in the 1980s. Since their initial break-up in 1983, the band has reunited several times.

The band started as an acoustic blues trio in the mid 1960s, with singer and guitarist John Geils, bassistMagic Dick). Danny Klein (Dr. Funk) and harmonica player Richard Salwitz (stage name

The band formed under the name ‘Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels’, while Geils was attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute for a couple of semesters. In 1967, the band switched focus, starting to play electric guitar and bass and recruiting drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and fast-talking ex-disc jockey singer Peter Wolf, born Peter Blankenfeld, both from Boston. They became the J. Geils Blues Band, later dropping the word, “Blues” from the band name. The following year, former fan Seth Justman joined as an organist. The group signed to Atlantic Records in 1970.

Although living in Boston, the band had always considered Detroit their second home because of their enormous popularity there. Two of their three live albums were recorded in Detroit at various venues. The third live album was recorded in Detroit and Boston.

The J. Geils Band first received FM radio airplay with the live single “First I Look at the Purse”, then had several hit singles in the 1970s, the most successful of which were a cover version of The Showstoppers’ “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Houseparty” (1973) and “Musta Got Lost” (1974). Later in the 1970s, the band signed with EMI America Records.

On August 17, 1971, at a show in the Boston Common, The Allman Brothers Band named The J. Geils Band as their favorite local band. Both bands later played the last show at the Fillmore East, before it closed. After their initial commercial successes the group seemed destined to be nothing more than a party band, until the release of Monkey Island (1977), followed by Sanctuary (1978).

In 2004, Geils produced the album Nail It! for Massachusetts-based blues/rock group The Installers (Francesca Records #1011). He has also been known to appear on stage with The Installers occasionally.

On May 22, 2006, the six original members had a surprise reunion, at bassist Danny Klein’s 60th birthday party at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston.

Magic Dick recently contributed his harmonica playing and some vocals as part of a live recording called Command Performance by the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue featuring The Tommy Castro Band, Deanna Bogart, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and others. Since 2007, he has toured as part of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue on different Blues Cruises, and again on land-based shows. Peter Wolf toured with Kid Rock during the first half of 2008, and is finishing up on a new solo cd.

On February 19, 2009, the band reunited once again to perform the opening concert at the new House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts on Lansdowne St. in Boston, (formerly the location of The Avalon, The Axis, The Embassy, and The Modern) with longtime associate Marty Richards filling in for original drummer Stephen Jo Bladd. Subsequently they played two shows on April 24 and 25 at Detroit’s Fillmore Theater (formerly State Theater). They also did a a second show on Landsdowne St. April 28. No tour is planned however.

Watch this damn band on these vids. It’s great music performance.

And this great Boston performance…

Now please pay attention to the reunion concert in February 2009 in Boston, some 25 years since they last played together. the magic is still there. watch Wolf work both the crowd and the band.