The dinosaurs are back. No, the next Jurassic Park is not hitting theaters. It’s the return of veteran rockers Aerosmith and KISS who will arrive to an overwhelmingly warm welcome at the St. Pete Times Forum in early December.
Two bands with their distinct sounds and very different fans will mesh this winter as the toxic twins (Joe Perry/Steven Tyler) and Satan’s Knights take Tampa hostage for one night of ear-splitting wails and crunching bass lines. Both of these legendary bands have been selling out stadiums and arenas for more than a quarter of a century, but this meeting is something to look forward to because the two iconic rock bands will be sharing the stage for the first time.
As rumor has it, Aerosmith and KISS have long wanted to tour together but conflicting schedules have delayed the process. Aerosmith is using the tour to test out new material from the group’s forthcoming blues album due out this January.
Aerosmith, formed in the early ’70s, created its trademark infectious mix of blues and carefree attitude that launched it into the league of America’s great rock bands. Throughout most of the decade, Tyler and company scored massive hits with “Walk This Way,” “Dream On” and “Draw The Line.”
Sadly, Aerosmith fell apart in the ’80s when guitarist Perry and drummer Joey Krammer left the band. It wasn’t until Def Jam co-creator Rick Rubin contacted Tyler and Perry to join Run DMC in a remake of “Walk This Way” that the band regained pop success. The revitalized Aerosmith rose to even greater success with “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),” “Angel” and “Janie’s Got A Gun.” Unlike some of the band’s contemporaries, Aerosmith continued to land hit singles, hit albums and half a dozen sold out world tours.
KISS came together through a well-placed wanted ad, and before long the band impressed record execs with a hard pressing sound an innovative fashion sense. The group of early glam-rockers raised more than a few eyebrows from conservative religious preachers who claimed the band’s music was satanic (KISS stands for Knights in Satan’s Service). The band first scored mainstream success with the single “Beth,” and the group’s album Alive captured KISS’ sound for a rebellious generation of teens. After losing popularity in the early ’80s, KISS decided it was time to take the make-up off — well at least some of it. The band’s fans, who refer to themselves as the KISS army, supported them throughout the harsh ’90s, but big singles and record sales became a thing of the past.
For KISS, the tour appears to be just another leg in a seemingly endless farewell tour that has been on the road since early 2000. The band may go down in record books for having the longest farewell tour ever.
The question of whether the show will be good is irrelevant. The real question is whether the St. Pete Times Forum can withstand Tyler’s soaring vocals and KISS’ powerful riffs. The two bands know how to give fans what they want and have been doing it for more than three decades with no apparent signs of deceleration. Fans attending the show can expect some pyrotechnics and a light show, but most importantly, they can look forward to 30 years of music history and the elder statesmen of rock who are still capable of putting on a spectacle.