Archive for the ‘Wembley Arena’ Category



I don’t think I ever actually bought a copy of Metal Hammer, but I used to stand and read it in WH Smith’s.

I’d done the same with home computer magazines six years earlier.

Then, it was all about tips for games. The Hobbit. Valhalla.

Now it was all about picking up mythology from the written word.

We all knew Aerosmith from Run DMC’s Walk This Way (I have a 7” single of this – given to me around this time by a school friend), but I’d taken it a bit further.

In the revision period leading up to my GCSEs I’d bought both the 1980 Greatest Hits and the 1978 Live Bootleg double album.

Toys and Rocks followed in short order

I loved them both.

Still do.

And then of course there’d been Permanent Vacation.

I never owned it on vinyl, but Rag Doll, Dude and Angel were often on the radio rock shows. Dude was even on TV.

I had a tape of it, with Whitesnake’s Saints and Sinners on the flip.

I remember a lunchtime by the river with a friend’s stereo and Permanent Vacation. Smoking cigarettes.

The days out of school to smoke dope started coming about a year later.

Aerosmith will always sound like summer to me.

And then there was the release of Pump.

I bought it from the local record shop on the day of release.


It wasn’t what I’d expected.

Some great songs, but Dulcimer Stomp? Hoodoo Medicine Man?

I still think FINE is a great song. And I honestly enjoyed Elevator. Jamie’s Got a Gun once made me cry.

On the inner sleeve of the record it says that F.I.N.E stands for “Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.”

Obviously, it refers to the girl(s) in the song.

But it wasn’t obvious to me.

I thought it was something to aspire to. “One day” I thought, “one day…”

Metal Hammer was worked up about the 1989 tour dates.

Because apparently the band hadn’t toured outside America since the late 70s.

They hadn’t played the UK since Reading in 1977.

Everyone was excited.

Steve and Joe had come onstage at the end of Bon Jovi’s Milton Keynes bowl show earlier that year to play Walk This Way and announce their return.

It was one of the most exciting things I’d seen in my life.

And now Metal Hammer had published a list of all the songs they wanted Aerosmith to play for their UK dates.

It was a list of every song they had ever recorded.

In order.

Obviously we went.

The support band was the Quireboys.

In those pre-internet days I had no idea that their whole “look at us we’re boozy, it’s a bar on stage and we have piano” schtick was basically stolen from the Faces.

I remember Spike, the singer, working the crowd.

“Who wants to come to a party?


“A really good party!”




It’s nearly 30 years later and I’ve still never knowingly been to what you could call a sex party.

At 16 I’d maybe awkwardly kissed three or four girls. All while drunk, though maybe not as drunk as them.

When they finally came on, Aerosmith weren’t the band from Live Bootleg.

But they came on to Rats in the Cellar which was thrilling, and both Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way were played.

I walked home from the station to my parents late, the main road was empty.

I walked in the road. Ears ringing.

I felt FINE.

High: Sweet Emotion

Drinking: Someone may have tried to get a pint. And they may have managed to get served. It wasn’t me.

Thinking: what *exactly* goes on at a sex party anyway? 

Setlist on


Foo Fighters


It was the One by One tour, and they opened with a young looking Dave Grohl smashing out All My Life as their banner unfurled behind him.

Gigs on too much cocaine were strange for me.

I’d feel dislocated, unsure what I should be feeling. Unsure of the expression on my face.

Drinking perversely slowing down due to a lack of focus.

And in this case, with an old school-friend and an old band mate (the only time I think the two of them ever met), the problem was children.

We were sitting up on the side and there was a mother with two boys who must have been around 12 or 13.

She was visibly pained every time that Dave swore. More so I think that the kids squeamed with delight.

At times it felt as if the show was entirely geared to thrilling young teens with the F word, with an added frisson of shocking any parents in attendance.

I think there were a lot of parents. I think the band were on the way to being proper pop stars, though they still played the early thrashy ones like This is a Call.

I didn’t live that far from Wembley in a cab, and we’d started getting far too high at mine.

I’d recently got a new acoustic guitar.

I felt that this was the year that I’d finally learned some actual guitar chops – after nearly 15 years of playing, including three in a band.

I remember making the guys sit through my party piece at the time, America by Simon & Garfunkel.

Then a cab journey feeling tense and constrained by the blow.

And then the band and horrified mum.

I think I ruined the show for myself.

High: I want to say Everlong, but all I really remember other than a mildly (barely booze-subdued) stress and sense of panic was All My Life.

Drinking: Lots, but slowly – gulp at a time.

Thinking: I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight (this was before I discovered Valium).

Setlist on

Why: Let’s be clear from the start: I wasn’t there for Purple (though the friend I went with was), I was there for Skynyrd. And I literally wasn’t there for The Darkness opening up, because I was in the bar.

High: Really bad seats meant it wasn’t too difficult to sneak a couple of joints and just be told off for smoking – so by the time what passed for Skynyrd at the time (though still with the late great Billy Powell on piano) ended with a quite simply phenomenal Freebird I was in a properly appreciative state. When Purple then opened with Highway Star (my all time favourite) I completely forgot about the awful venue and dubious nature of this kind of tour.

Drinking: Shedloads of shed-venue lager.

Thinking: “Part of this is deeply tragic, but like it or not this is the closest to hearing these songs authentically that I can ever get.”

Gig on Songkick