Boston’s “Legends” Return to Allston
By Ashleigh Fryer
BU News Service
Video By Matthew Reitman
ALLSTON – For a self-proclaimed Aerosmith “superfan” like Denise Cowie, the experience was familiar: the hours of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with chain-smokers; the confetti cannons; singer Steven Tyler’s leather trench coat and bedazzled skinny jeans.
She’d seen it all before. It was her 91st Aerosmith concert, after all.
Except the venue was a little different this time.
Cowie and thousands of other Aerosmith devotees flooded the streets of Allston in early November for the Boston legend’s surprise Commonwealth Ave. concert to promote the release of their album “Music From Another Dimension!”
“Here’s me and Steve,” Cowie said, beaming and scrolling through the picture gallery on her phone. “When he smiles, everything about him smiles. I still get that pitter patter.”
The multi-colored Aerosmith emblem tattoo that Cowie was also sporting on her lower back was just one more testament to the intensity of fandom for band in Boston. She and her like-minded friends have run an Aerosmith fan club that has petitioned over the years to place a plaque on the Allston apartment Tyler and his band mates occupied in their early days as a group.
On Monday, those efforts paid off, as the band stood on the steps of 1325 Commonwealth Ave. while Boston’s Best Realty—the current owner of the band’s old pad— and Mayor Tom Menino’s wife, Angela, unveiled the plaque to the cheers of fans, branding the building the “Aerosmith Apartment.”
“Right up there where that beautiful blonde is sitting,” said Steven Tyler, smiling as he directed the crowd’s eyes to the second floor window. “That was my bedroom. It all started here.”
The brief plaque ceremony was followed by an introduction by New England Patriots stars Tom Brady and Jerod Mayo, accompanied by Patriot owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft. The group presented the rock legends with signed game balls and posed with them aboard the flatbed truck where the band would perform.
“Being a kid in the 60’s, I thought rock only came from England. Then 1973 brought a band called Aerosmith,” Johnathan Kraft said. “These five men who brought us American rock and roll were just like the pilgrims that first came here.”
The band played in true rock and roll style, arriving in a fleet of Duck Tour boats with the Patriots’ cheerleading squad in tow. Their performance lasted a little over an hour, and while the purpose of the event was to promote their new album, Aerosmith stayed true to their roots and played a majority of classic fan favorites like “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion.”
The Boston Police Department came out in full force the day of the event, starting at 7 a.m. Closure of Commonwealth Ave. from Harvard Ave. to Allston St and officers stationed at every block created issues for those Allston residents not attending the massive performance.
“On my way to class at 8 a.m. I was told by a police officer I couldn’t walk down my street due to road closures,” Boston University student Lita Kobsumbut said. “I’m a resident, I have a right to my own sidewalk. All I wanted to do was get to the T.”
The location for the concert—in an area of Allston containing low-income housing, a large student population, and a key stretch of the B line—seemed peculiar to residents whose regular schedules were interrupted by what seemed to them an impromptu event.
“I really would’ve liked to have had a say in the matter. There was no asking of the neighborhood,” Kobsumbut said. “That should be a necessity when planning such a big event.”
But for fans like Cowie, it was all a sweet return to hometown roots.
“You show me one other band that goes back to where they came from,” Cowie said. “They are legendary.”