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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY CAROLINE DUNNING, Lakewood High
So many people swarmed the Tampa Bay Times Forum, I feared I would be unable to see Aerosmith, my absolute favorite band.
I know, Aerosmith comes from a generation behind my own, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the history of rock's greatest the moment I heard Walk This Way. As I walked this way to section 103, a really cool T-shirt spoke to me, totally worth it even at $40.
I was shocked at how close our seats were to the stage, excellent viewing. I settled in for Cheap Trick, Aerosmith's opener.
The lights went out and the crowd got pumped. Cheap Trick missed the mark for me, with a bit too much screaming. My impatience to see Aerosmith was enhanced by the fact I only knew two Cheap Trick songs, Surrender and I Want You to Want Me, so it was a long hour.
Finally, the screen behind the stage lit up with the famous logo: a set of wings with “Aerosmith” in the center. I was not the only one squealing with excitement as Steven Tyler kicked off with Mama Kin.
Next up was Rag Doll, which hit home with the audience, who were going nuts. Next up, Brad Whitford's excellent guitar solo. Aerosmith moved to some phenomenal new songs, including Lover a Lot. Steven Tyler moved to the end of a long catwalk for Jaded, emotion pouring through his lead vocals.
After a few more songs, it was slightly surprising to hear Joe Perry start off the guitar for the Beatles' Come Together. Aerosmith covered the song well, though by this point I had to sit down to give my aching feet a rest. Cruel boots aside, if I am 15 and had to sit down, I cannot imagine how tired the band must have been.
As soon as I heard the familiar introduction to Dude, Looks Like a Lady, I stood up and started to scream again. Sore throat? What sore throat? My mom claims her ears are still ringing from my screaming during Walk This Way.
After a wardrobe change, smoke rose from the end of the catwalk and a platform began to rise carrying Tyler and a baby blue grand piano. His amazing Dream On solo had people crying, singing, screaming and shaking.
The Sweet Emotion encore, led by bass guitarist Tom Hamilton and sung by Tyler, included Perry on an instrument called the talk box, making cool sound effects.
The show ended with a blast of streamers onto the audience. Tyler made a snow angel in the sprinkles that fluttered to the stage. I was laughing so hard that my stomach started to hurt.
Photo: Steven Tyler at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Dec. 11, 2012, by Edmund Fountain, Times photographer