It’s Tuesday January 16, and the lineup outside LA’s Roxy Theatre is long, shivering and buzzing in anticipation of seeing, hearing, and rocking out to Joe Perry and Friends’ tracks from his new album, Sweetzerland Manifesto, which was released on January 18th. Once inside the legendary Roxy, things warmed up fast.
Joe Perry, himself a legendary guitar hero beloved by many over decades, was accompanied by a star-studded group, including vocalists Gary Cherone (Extreme), British rock vocalist/guitarist/writer Terry Reid (look him up), Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), and David Johansen (New York Dolls), all lending their distinct and authentic voices to Aerosmith classics, “Sweetzerland” selections–and of course all hands on deck for the finale–but more on that later.
Joe lent his own voice to several songs and led from the front all night with his pure rock and blues-infused tone and style, with creamy and haunting slide guitar thrown in for good measure. Johnny Depp ( ‘Crybaby, Pirate) was a welcome addition on guitar for a number of songs, and made a solid contribution to the night’s performance.
After cranking out (and cranking up) a few Aerosmith songs, Joe said, “We’re not gonna play any more of that shit for a while.” Full confession, the crowd loved that shit. Joe and friends went on to perform much of Sweetzerland Manifesto, including “Fortunate One,” with Robinson on vocals, which was a late addition to the album and a welcome addition to the set list. I didn’t think things could get any louder or sweeter, and then Slash showed up. The performance crescendoed with everybody on stage for the Beatles’ cum Aerosmith cum Perry and Friends (they owned it) rendition of “Come Together.” Slash and Depp stayed on board for “Train Kept A-Rollin,'” punctuated by Joe smashing his guitar, apparently with the guitar’s maker standing at the front of the stage. It was later reported that Perry felt kinda bad, but was truly caught up in the moment.
Joe and friends were solidly backed all night by Dean and older brother Robert DeLeo (STP) on guitar and bass, Buck Johnson (yes, Aerosmith) on keyboards, and supremely talented multifaceted David Goodstein on drums
Regarding the album, if you are any kind of Perry fan you won’t be disappointed, if you are a straight-ahead rock purist, give it a listen. You can hear and feel the legends and heroes that Joe has absorbed and exudes in his honest, authentic, and instantly vintage tone, playing, and writing. Great album, great music, great performance, worthy of legends and heroes.
Joe Perry and Friends, The Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, Jan. 16, 2018 Set List
- “Let the Music Do the Talking” (w/Gary Cherone)
2. “Toys in the Attic” (w/Gary Cherone)
3. “Pandora’s Box” (w/Gary Cherone)
4. “Shakin’ My Cage” (w/Gary Cherone)
5. I’ll Do Happiness” (w/Terry Reid)
6. “Sick & Tired” (w/Terry Reid)
7. “Won’t Let Me Go” (w/Terry Reid)
8. “Fortunate One” (w/Chris Robinson)
9. “Spanish Sushi” (w/Gary Cherone)
10. “Eve of Destruction” (w/Johnny Depp)
11. “I Wanna Roll” (w/David Johansen and Johnny Depp)
12. “I’m Goin’ Crazy” (w/David Johansen)
13. “Countryside Blvd.” (w/Robin Zander)
14. “Aye, Aye, Aye” (w/Robin Zander)
15. “Quake” (w/Gary Cherone)
16. “Rockin’ Train” (w/Gary Cherone)
17. “Come Together” (all guests)
18. “Train Kept A-Rollin'” (w/Slash and Johnny Depp)
Sweetzerland Manifesto Track List
“Rumble In The Jungle” (instrumental)
“I’ll Do Happiness” (featuring Terry Reid)
“Aye, Aye, Aye” (featuring Robin Zander)
“I Wanna Roll” (featuring David Johansen)
“Sick & Tired” (featuring Terry Reid)
“Haberdasher Blues” (featuring David Johansen)
“Spanish Sushi” (instrumental)
“Eve Of Destruction” (featuring Joe Perry)
“I’m Going Crazy” (featuring David Johansen)
“Won’t Let Me Go” (featuring Terry Reid)