|Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry brought their "Cocked, Locked, Ready To Rock" tour to the Air Canada Centre Tuesday. (Jack Boland, Toronto Sun)
TORONTO - Was it intentional? Was it an accident? Or just more bad luck for Steven Tyler and Aerosmith?
During Tuesday night's concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, Tyler plunged off a walkway after getting a nudge from guitarist Joe Perry.
Unlike Tyler's similar fall off a walkway last year in South Dakota, when he broke a shoulder and hurt his head and neck, this time the frontman appeared unhurt, and got right back up and finished the show.
Whatever is going on between the Aerosmith's Toxic Twins, it has the makings of being either a great publicity ploy, or becoming quite toxic.
It was early on during the first of Aerosmith's scheduled six Canadian concerts over the next month, during the song Love In An Elevator, that both Perry and Tyler were on a walkway that jutted into the crowd. The leather-clad Perry played to one side, the eclectically-attired Tyler to the other.
Surprisingly, Perry slowly moved backward, bumping into Tyler and sending him off the walkway and into the crowd. Two fans -- Agnes Reid and Golda Cassell of Guelph, QMI Agency later learned -- helped to break his fall, and Tyler landed on his feet, in Cassell's arms.
Presumably in reference to the South Dakota mishap, after getting back on stage Tyler told the crowd, "It ain't gonna happen again, baby." And to Perry, who had helped him up back on stage, Tyler said, "You will pay for that, my brother."
Whether it is just another incident in the bickering of these longtime "brothers," a feud growing with each gig, or a total accident remains to be seen.
In the months after the August 2009 mishap in South Dakota, Tyler entered rehab, Perry and Tyler stopped talking to one another, Perry complained that the singer intended to focus on "brand Tyler," and Tyler issued the band a cease-and-desist order when he heard they were contemplating finding a replacement singer. Aerosomith appeared to put much of that behind them earlier this year when they announced the current tour. But Perry was miffed to find out through the media that Tyler has reportedly signed on to be an American Idol judge. The chasm appears widening again.
What was clear during the roughly two-hour show Tuesday in Toronto, however, was that Aerosmith were at times dynamite -- and other times a ticking time bomb.
Currently on the Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock tour, the band's 17-song set was filled with hit singles and oldies, beginning with the rowdy British blues-rocker Train Kept A Rollin' and the stellar rendition of Them's Baby, Please Don't Go which Perry, drummer Joey Kramer and guitarist Brad Whitford seemed to sink their teeth into near the end of the show. Even here, Perry and Tyler battled a bit for space sonically, the solos of each diminished by the feedback the other was creating.
Tyler also got even, somewhat, with Perry during the strong Livin' On The Edge by changing the lyrics to: "We're seeing things in a different way / And Joe knows it ain't his."
Although they did their obligatory share of slower ballads in Cryin', the rootsy What It Takes from 1989's Pump album and I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, Aerosmith showed they could still hit their stride on several songs. The funky, bluesy feel of Last Child was fleshed out entirely, while Perry's slide guitar solos on the deliberate but delicious Rag Doll was top notch.
The same could be said of the fine Stop Messin' Around and particularly Sweet Emotion, which had Perry rocking out on while also toying with a Theremin.
Generally, though, the tension between Tyler and Perry -- much like that between Jagger and Richards at a few points in Rolling Stones history -- was definitely visible. Walk This Way concluded the encores, with Perry introducing Tyler and vice versa before calling it a night.
But any chance of the band embracing arm-in-arm and bowing before leaving? Dream on.