Joe Perry remembered right: Aerosmith played GVSU in band’s early days

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A ticket stub for “Arrowsmith,” playing at Grand Valley State College in 1974.
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A ticket stub from Aerosmith’s 1975 concert at Grand Valley State College.

On stage during the band’s Van Andel Arena show Tuesday, Aug. 4, the legendary guitarist said he always gets excited to see Grand Rapids on the tour itinerary. He said he remembered playing here in the band’s early days in the mid-1970s, some of the band’s first shows outside its native Boston area.

Although Perry’s recall could be called into question – after all, he and singer Steven Tyler were dubbed “The Toxic Twins” at the time, for their well-documented drug use – and he couldn’t offer any specifics. But he was right.

On Oct. 26, 1974, the band played the then-Grand Valley State College fieldhouse in Allendale, with opening act Mike Quatro, Detroit-born brother of Suzi Quatro.

Local musician (and former MLive/The Grand Rapids Press entertainment writer) Jack Leaver produced a ticket stub for the show, and shared it on Facebook. The stub comically misspells the band’s name: “Arrowsmith.”

The ticket price? $4.50.

It was on the tail-end of Aerosmith’s tour for second album “Get Your Wings,” Leaver recalled.

“They played a couple of ‘new’ songs, and ‘Sweet Emotion’ was one of them, I think,” Leaver said.

“Sweet Emotion” would go on to become one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits.

The Grand Valley State University online archive contains a poster for the gig, with the band’s name spelled correctly.

It wasn’t the only time the hard-touring, hard-partying band visited Grand Valley. On a Facebook thread started by retired Grand Rapids radio DJ Aris Hampers, a friend shared another ticket stub dated Sept. 13, 1975, part of the band’s “Toys in the Attic” tour.

The Concert Database website, which tracks artists’ Michigan tour dates, also lists May 23, 1975, at Welsh Auditorium, as well as a slew of shows in Lansing, Battle Creek, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Mount Pleasant in the 1970s.

Aerosmith’s Van Andel Arena show this week was the band’s first Grand Rapids appearance since playing the same venue in 2005. It was their sixth concert at the arena, having played it twice in 1998, in 2002 and co-headlining with Kiss in 2003.

By John Serba for MLive