(Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

Revisiting Aerosmith live at Paul’s Mall over 50 years on shines a bright light on the band’s blues roots and live legacy.


“What the hell is Paul’s Mall?” you might be asking. Well, let me give you a brief Boston venue history lesson. It starts with The Jazz Workshop, which was co-founded as a music school on Stuart St. in 1953.


A decade later, the Workshop had relocated to 733 Boylston St. In 1965, legendary New England promoter Fred Taylor, who was booking the Workshop, opened Paul’s Mall in an adjacent space.


So from the mid-’60s through the mid-’70s, music fans could take the stairs down at 733 Boylston and see the likes of Miles Davis at The Jazz Workshop and Bob Marley at Paul’s Mall. Unreal.



Aerosmith Live at Paul’s Mall: The Perfect Fit

The Music Museum of New England has a laundry list of acts that played the venue during that era and it’s astounding. B.B. King. Chuck Berry. Little Richard. Bruce Springsteen played 14 shows over 7 days in January of ’73.


It was March 20, 1973 that Aerosmith made their live debut at Paul’s Mall. The band had been playing out for a couple of years, of course, but had just released their self-titled debut album in January.


That early-era Aerosmith, heavy on the blues, really made them the right band at the right time a the Mall. With the parade of up-and-coming pop and rock bands and established blues acts, they had a foot in both worlds.


Aerosmith Live at Paul’s Mall: Let’s Listen

Luckily, decent-quality audio of the gig exists. After all, it was originally broadcast on WBCN. I used to play the set during my Live Lunch segment when I hosted middays at BCN in the 2000’s.


An Aerosmith fan account has the whole set, minus the opener, on YouTube. So let’s take a trip back to Boylston St. in ’73 for Aerosmith live at Paul’s Mall, shall we?

  • "One Way Street/Somebody"

    According to Setlist.fm, the band opened the set with “Make It,” but that’s missing. Which is a shame, because somewhere out there is a recording with a mid-’70s BCN DJ introing the song and the set.

  • "Write Me A Letter"

    From the self-titled debut. This is the first-ever live performance of the song. Wild!

  • "I Ain't Got You/Mother Popcorn"

    Aerosmith has never shied away from wearing their influences on their sleeve. Or from a killer cover. In this case, you get two: one from Jimmy Reed, and one from James Brown.

  • "Movin' Out"

    “It’s dedicated to our landlord” quips Tyler before ripping into “Movin’ Out.” Classic. The first song that Tyler and Perry wrote together.

  • "Walkin' The Dog"

    This one was a hit for Rufus Thomas in 1963. A decade later, Aerosmith covered it as the last track on their first album. And played it live, of course.

  • "Train Kept A Rollin/Mama Kin"

    Closing out the set with another cover and a signature original. Wild to think that, long after Paul’s Mall would close, “Mama Kin” would be the name of another live rock venue just a stone’s throw away on Lansdowne St.

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