WBUR

Aerosmith Rocks Its Old Home

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry perform a free concert Monday in Boston's Allston neighborhood as fans watch from the apartment building which was Aerosmith's home in the early 1970s. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry perform a free concert Monday in Boston’s Allston neighborhood as fans watch from the apartment building which was Aerosmith’s home in the early 1970s. (Elise Amendola/AP)

BOSTON — Boston rock band Aerosmith played a free concert Monday afternoon in front of the bandmates’ old apartment building. They billed it as a pre-Election Day celebration.

After word spread about the concert, thousands of fans flocked to 1325 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston’s Allston neighborhood, and area businesses prepared for the masses.

Kyle Reese, who works the door at the nearby pub The Avenue, said management deployed the entire staff.

A crowd awaits Aerosmith on Commonwealth Avenue. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

A crowd awaits Aerosmith on Commonwealth Avenue. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

“We’re expecting to be really busy ’cause we have dollar burgers, and we’re always crushed on Monday, and now that there’s a super rock star band playing up the street…,” Reese said. “It should really throw a wrench in the gears, but, hey, we’ll get through it — we grind hard here.

“Hopefully all the servers will be making good tips, we’ll be cranking some burgers hard. You’ll be able to smell the burgers all the way up the street, too, so let’s hope we can lure some superstars here.”

People hung from open windows and lined rooftops along Commonwealth Avenue, hoping to catch a glimpse of Steven Tyler and his four bandmates.

After an introduction by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Tyler thanked the crowd.

Thank you for coming out to where we once came from. And, as you know, we’ve been trying to give it back ever since. So here’s one from us to you.

The musicians, clad in black leather, performed on the back of a flatbed truck surrounded by massive towers of speakers. They were parked in front of the building where they lived, played and partied more than 40 years ago, from 1970-1972. The city is honoring them with a plaque and an Aerosmith street sign.

Jason Gardner, 24, drove down from Methuen. He couldn’t believe Commonwealth Avenue was shut down for the concert.

“Only Boston would take one of the busiest roads in the city and shut it down just for a concert,” Gardner said.

Gardner has been an Aerosmith fan for 15 years, since he was 9. He was at the performance with his father, Frank, a major rock and roller. He acknowledged the band was notorious for its hard-partying lifestyle, and its fans weren’t exactly embraced by the city.

Aerosmith's old home -- 1325 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

Aerosmith’s old home — 1325 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

“Back in the ’70s we were rejected. Now we’re in charge,” Frank Gardner said.

Maryanne Iacovelli, a 62-year-old retired school teacher, grew up in guitarist Joe Perry’s hometown, Hopedale. Now the lifelong fan lives in Franklin.

“As soon as Steven Tyler let it slip that it was 1325 Comm. Ave., I was like on it and trying to figure out the best way to get here,” she said.

This concert was publicity for Aerosmith’s new album — the band’s 15th — called “Music From Another Dimension!” It goes on sale Wednesday. But the free performance was also billed as a “pre-Election Day celebration” to encourage fans to vote.

Iacovelli thinks it’ll work.

“I think they have great influence, even on old rock and rollers,” she said.

Aerosmith played songs including “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion” and a few from their new album, “Music from Another Dimension!”

The band kicks off a 14-city national tour, dubbed “The Global Warming Tour,” Thursday.

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