Whenever I hear Walk This Way I think of the video of the version with Run DMC. I picture Steven Tyler bashing a hole in the flimsy studio wall with the butt of his mic stand and poking his head into the rap bands’ adjacent studio. Now I might have a new image. Steven Tyler on stage singing at the Colosseum in Rome in 2017, backed by an orchestra, standing next to two cellists sawing away to evoke the power guitar sound of the iconic song. Yet I suspect that a competing image will win out.
In his book It’s About Relationships: Building a Life that Matters, Jimmy Walker tells an anecdote about Tyler’s appearance at the Colosseum as part of the Andrea Bocelli convened Celebrity Fight Night in Rome. Jimmy Walker is an insurance agent for celebrities (Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster etc). He helped create Celebrity Fight Night in America and Italy (which has raised over $132 million for charity) with Muhammad Ali and Andrea Bocelli. First, the Tyler video:
I wouldn’t have noticed it if Walker hadn’t pointed it out. He writes about a video clip of Steven Tyler entering the Colosseum “chomping on a piece of gum”. As Tyler “took the stage to perform Aerosmith’s smash hit Dream On, he took the gum out of his mouth and stuck it under Elton John’s Piano”, which he was about to play. Walker dryly quips that Elton John would not have been happy to see that. Whenever I hear Dream On or Walk this Way, I fear I will think of Tyler, the gum and Elton’s piano.
The cellists who appear with Tyler are Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, known as 2CELLOS. As well as appearing on Dream On and Walk This Way with Tyler, 2Cellos also played the Game of Thrones theme and Funiculi Funicula with Andrea Bocelli. Azucena Pe wrote on 2Cellos Facebook: “I saw the concert on Rai1 TV. It was fantastic! I wish you had played more songs. I loved Steven Tyler’s voice, and seeing you two enjoying playing with him was fabulous”. Here’s another video from the same event:
That was the climax and conclusion of the Celebrity Gala Event at the Colosseum – Steven Tyler and Andrea Bocelli singing Imagine with David Foster on the piano (with Sharon Stone seated next to him and various other celebrities and performers on the stage including Renato Zero, Zara, Matteo Bocelli, and Chris Botti).
The Colosseum 2017 concert was one of the highlights of a week-long series that comprised Celebrity Fight Night in Rome. The events were arranged to entertain philanthropic donors as well as special guests including actors Sharon Stone, Sofia Loren, Antonio Banderas, and Susan Sarandon. Wanted In Rome reported that “The luxury week-long ‘benefit trip’ costs €70,000 and includes VIP dinners and private concerts at Roman palaces such as Palazzo Colonna and Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, as well as a cocktail reception at Palazzo del Quirinale in the presence of Italian president Sergio Mattarella.” I wonder how long that piece of gum remained under Elton John’s piano.