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No Support! (Or Why I Wish Aerosmith Would Hit the Road Solo)

Everyone knows my favorite band is Aerosmith. In America, there are few bands as iconic - and important - to stadium rock than Aerosmith.

I've been waiting on a new tour for a few years now. Dates are *finally* starting to leak. It seems Aerosmith are playing Cincinnati on August 30 at Riverbend Music Center. Support is listed as ZZ Top. Now, notice I said "leak" - the date isn't confirmed or anything, so don't plan a vacation around the show. That said, I have a beef over tour support.

I have nothing against ZZ Top. In fact, I'm sure they are going to be awesome. My question is, really, why do certain bands even bother with support?

In my mind, there are just a few bands that don't need to take support on the road. Those bands would be Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, AC/DC and Bob Dylan. Why can't bands like this - each with a massive catalog - get on stage and rock out for two hours and call it a night? I know when I go to a regular show, I'm paying the giant ticket price for the headliner - not support. Now, I'm not dissing support here. I just don't see why Aerosmith or Maiden or whoever even bothers. Yeah, Motley Crue has Crue Fest to attract a younger fan base...but do the same rules apply for Aerosmith? I'm not so sure.

Every band wants to remain relevant and hip. At some point, though, this comes at a cost to the fans. I would much rather hear two hours of classic Aerosmith than 90 minutes of awesomeness plus five songs from a support band.

Oh, and while I'm talking about Aerosmith - if they wanted to jump on the bandwagon and do an entire classic album all the way through - I'd choose Rocks. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Here's a hella-old clip of my beloved Aerosmith performing "Mama Kin" way back in 1977. The clip is so delicious, I was giddy for a few minutes after watching for the first time. If you're a vintage Aerosmith fan, get ready. This is the good stuff.

"Sleeping late and smoking tea!"

Reader Comments (11)

I like the idea of a supporting band, if the supporting band needs it. For instance, Ratt was able to play to huge crowds when they opened for Poison a couple of years ago. The same with Dokken. Without the big band (Poison) they couldn't have booked such venues and attracted such crowds.

ZZ Top is not Ratt or Dokken, though. To me, ZZ Top should be a headliner, maybe with Joe Bonamassa or a similar bluesy-rock outfit to open for them.

Aerosmith should take a younger, less experienced band out on the road. AC/DC did this with The Answer. It's good exposure for the younger bands to see how the big boys do it, and to gain that large crowd them a little more motivation to be even better than they already are.

And it gives the audience a chance to connect with a new band. Had Endeverafter not opened for Poison a few years ago, I wouldn't have bought their CD the day it came out. I doubt Endeverafter would have been on my radar at all without that Poison concert. And they certainly wouldn't have attracted me to see their live show all by themselves without first hearing the music.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJT
They should all be like Bruce Springsteen, 3 hours, 32 songs and HE TAKES REQUESTS FROM THE AUDIENCE!
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNikkeSixx
Yeah but if it IS zz top they will play for awhile since they r a bigger band so that means even less time for the greatest band ever, AEROSMITH!
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
I like support bands when they really support de headliner! I mean the both bands had to be connected!(2 years ago I saw Aerosmith with Velvet Revolver)

I saw Iron Maiden live last week with Lauren Harris in opening act...I hated it! She sucks...her music sounds much more like an Avril Lavigne opening act than the Heavy metal gods! In this's better when the headliner hit the stage alone!

But in Brazil it's a different case... The tickets here are so expensive ( i paid 100 USD for a side stage view) and when a big band came...the producers have to compensate the crowd (everytime a huge crowd)...we need and deserves opening acts!!!
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucas Serpa
Awesome clip ! I cant wait ! Definately on my list of must see bands. I missed them while they were touring with the Crue due to other obligations. That won't happen again.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDamnp78
In 1998 ( I think ) Dokken was opening act at Capital Center Washington DC , George Lynch is sick and passes out first song and Aerosmith came on and rocked for four hours !!! Even played Dokken tunes. Aerosmith rocks
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSCOTT
First, let me state for the record I am (or was) a huge Aero fan...I even named my son Steven Tyler. My first show was in 1977 and I was a fan club member for almost 20 years. I still have a huge collection of stuff from the old days.

But they haven't had their hearts in this for a long time. They have quite simply become a money making machine. Every year, the ticket prices go up, and the shows get shorter. By having two name bands touring together, they can charge double the price and only do half the work. Fan club ticket packages have grown into the $1000-2000 range for a buffet, a couple of shows and a t-shirt.

Yea, back in the day, 90 mins was the norm (and Scott - were you at the same show I was? they NEVER played 4 hours, and never played any Dokken songs that night - BTW it was 11/19/1987).

Think about it - they haven't put out any good new music in over a decade (Just Push Play was their only studio album and questionable at best), and if I hear one more greatest hits or live album, I'll scream.

I, for one, sincerely hope that this new album (if it ever actually comes out within in the next 2-3 years - it will be a miracle) will be a return to greatness, and not just a rehash of top-40 pop garbage that they know will make them another pot of cash. Joe has always said he'd love to get back to the basics and a recent interview with Brad, he said much the same thing, but these things never seem to happen (if fact, someone approached Brad a few weeks after that interview, and he denied having ever said that. Not to mention, we all know who rules the roost in the Aero camp.

So save your pennies if you want to see them on this tour - your likely to be paying upwards of a dollar a minute for the privledge.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter-mark-
The idea of support bands is to give a new band the chance to play in front of a larger audience. I have discovered a lot of bands through that. If you take this away, a big opportunity dies for them. Just look at The Answer opening for AC/DC. This is so awesome. The Answer are such a great band, they deserve this chance. How should people learn to know them without radio play? Going on tour as support band is a very good way.

Why big bands bother? Because they remember their roots and haven't forgotten how it is when you start your career and need a chance like this.

Rush don't have support bands and that's fine, they play three hours anyway. Dream Theater do that too when they play three hours. When they play shorter they bring a band on tour that they like and want to show their audience.

And really, how do you know they would play two hours instead of 90 minutes without a support band? There are tons of bands who play two hours AND have a support band.

I only dislike it when the support band is too different to the main act style wise.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
Mark, you so hit the nail right on the head! Aerosmith hasn't released an original song worth listening to since the Pump album which is almost 20 years ago now. they are clearly only in it for the money at this point, and thus they will not receive a dime of my said money. greatest band in the world?...You could have possibly made that statement in 1997, but no friggin' way in 2009.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob
ZZ TOP is so ridiculously boring Live and a complete buzzkill. On another note, yes, ZZ TOP is a band of stature therefore it will drive the ticket prices up even more, no thanks! I'm with Ally on screw the opening band and let Aero play for 2.5 hours.
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
I gotta weigh in on this, too... I'm a big fan of Aerosmith as well, going back to the early 70's... Aerosmith is and always will be one of the enormously influential iconic bands that this country has produced but they haven't written something purely because it rocks in years. They know the formula and are milking it for all they're worth. True, they're all pushing social security age bracket and although they're in great shape physically, at that agee and at this point in their careers I understand why they'd like to play shorter sets and just rake in some cash.

But at the expense of their cred?

Aerosmith used to be the band that every rocker wanted to emulate and every girl wanted to fuck. They were dangerous and fun. Now they're just caricatures of their former selves.

Hetfield said it best: "Sad but true".
March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine

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