On this date in history, 8/2/1988, I saw Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses play a devastating show of hard rock brilliance at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. GNR were riding the insane wave of popularity surrounding their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, and word in the arena prior to the show was that the upstart Guns were set to blow Aerosmith off the stage. This did not happen, but not for lack of effort by Axl Rose and company. At this time, they were still the original 5 piece classic lineup of the band, and they were phenomenal. The energy, the attitude, the songs, everything coalesced into this massively dangerous rock n’ roll entity. Axl and Slash were the latest in a prestigious line of singers and lead guitarists that included Mick & Keith, Robert & Jimmy, David Lee & Eddie, and let’s not forget Steven & Joe, but more about them in just a minute. As I was saying, Axl and Slash lit it up and had the ravenous crowd in the palms of their hands. At one point, Axl made an impassioned speech about how Aerosmith was one of the only bands that Guns would consider opening for. Aerosmith’s bad boy past reputation had paved the way for the new poster children of decadence, and this speech was a great acknowledgement of that fact. After their blazing performance, Aerosmith had no choice but to bring it on full steam ahead, and that is precisely what they did. Steven Tyler galloped around the circular ramp that went up and around the drum set 3 times in a row at top speed, riding his microphone stand like a horse during the beginning of the opening song, and never slowed down for the rest of his time on stage. Joe Perry showed no signs of being intimidated by Slash’s playing, unleashing his own sneering attack on a variety of prime axes. While Guns had just one (albeit fantastic) album of songs, Aerosmith had a vault of them and used it to great advantage. All in all, it was a clinic on how American rockers can throw down the jams. Hats off to Aerosmith for bringing along the hottest band on the scene at that time and letting them bring out the best in the headliners.
Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic