In 1981 with respective time apart from Aerosmith and Ted Nugent’s band, Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes teamed up for a self-titled album on CBS Records, followed by a limited run of live dates. Though the project was short lived as both rhythm guitar gods returned to their main bread and butter, the pair remained pals and periodic collaborators throughout the 34 years that followed with those initial tunes staying in the limelight via Aerosmith’s “Pandora’s Box” rarities collection, a remastered reissue, and of course, samples resurfacing on YouTube.
The back to back hammering of “Hey Baby,” “Last Child,” “Train Kept A-Rollin’” and “Stranglehold” were just what the doctor ordered when it came to celebrating how far both of these cats have come, while also tapping back into a chemistry far too palpable to have spent this much time apart.
With a break from their day jobs once again, the pair of heavy rockers returned to the road, giving patient fans a sneak preview of their sophomore studio project slated for release in 2016. At Reggie’s Chicago, the duo and an all-star band consisting of Tesla’s Troy Luccketta (drums), Aerosmith ensemble member Buck Johnson (keyboards) and Chopper Anderson (bass) roared through 65 minutes that flew by in the blink of an eye, but in spite of the slightly disappointing brevity, established they were truly back in the saddle again.
The first section of the show was filled with entirely new Whitford / St. Holmes tunes, which for artists of a lesser caliber could’ve been patience trying, but in the case of these virtuosos, only wetted the appetites of those primed for the yet-to-be-titled project. Prospective selections “Shake It” and “Shapes” could’ve quite easily come from Aerosmith’s aggressive rock apexes “Toys In The Attic” or “Rocks,” crossed with hints of The Nuge’s pre-politically polarizing heyday.
The guys also tore into a few tunes from the first go around (“Sharpshooter,” “Shy Away”) with a take no prisoners attitude, though it was recollections from the even deeper past that practically blew the roof the burgeoning South Loop club. The back to back hammering of “Hey Baby,” “Last Child,” “Train Kept A-Rollin’” and “Stranglehold” were just what the doctor ordered when it came to celebrating how far both of these cats have come, while also tapping back into a chemistry far too palpable to have spent this much time apart.