Crowd first thought Steven Tyler’s tumble was part of performance, singer taken to hospitalBy Carson Walker, AP
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Aerosmith audience thought fall was part of act
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler suffered head, neck and shoulder injuries in a tumble from the stage at a South Dakota show, a concert spokesman said Thursday, and the audience thought it was part of his hipshaking act until he didn’t get up.
Tyler, 61, fell while entertaining the crowd by dancing around after the sound system failed during the song “Love in an Elevator,” said Mike Sanborn, spokesman for the Buffalo Chip Campground, which hosted the Wednesday night concert. An amateur video showed him spinning around before falling off the stage.
It wasn’t immediately clear how seriously he was hurt. He was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital, Sanborn said, the only major hospital in western South Dakota. A hospital spokeswoman would not confirm whether Tyler was there, and a representative for Aerosmith’s publicity firm said the company was gathering information about the accident.
“He does a lot of dancing on the stage and he does a lot of stuff with his mike stand. He put his stand down and twirled around and stepped backwards off the stage,” Sanborn said.
Tyler, whose performances often include swaying and grinding on microphone stands adorned with scarves, was dancing on a catwalk that was connected to the main stage. Many in the crowd were surprised and thought it was part of the act, said Jessica Kokesh, a University of South Dakota journalism student who covered the concert for the Rapid City Journal.
“We thought maybe he stage-dived into the crowd, but he didn’t get back up,” Kokesh said. “I thought he was falling back to crowd surf.”
Tyler landed on a couple of fans in the crowd of thousands, Sanborn said. Security rushed to help him and the crowd cheered when Tyler got up. He was taken backstage, where a physician attended to him.
Around 12:15 a.m., Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry came out to tell the audience Tyler was being taken to the hospital and that the show would not go on.
“It was an unfortunate end to an extraordinary evening,” Sanborn said.
Jennifer Horton, Rapid City Regional Hospital’s vice president of public relations and marketing, said early Thursday that Tyler wasn’t in the hospital directory. Under the privacy laws, that means the person is either not there or chose not to be included in the directory, according to the hospital’s Web site.
Tyler, known for heavy hits such as “Walk This Way” and “Dream On,” attended Sturgis last year to promote his Dirico Motorcycles line and was back this year to do that again and play at Buffalo Chip.
He was known for heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s and early 1980s. Every member of the blues-rock five-piece went to rehab in the mid-1980s, and the group staged an improbable comeback with the MTV generation. They were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Grammy-winning group is scheduled to play its next five shows in Canada, beginning Friday at the Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg. A stadium representative did not immediately respond to a phone inquiry asking whether the band had canceled that show, but an official with Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, where the band is supposed to play Tuesday, said she hadn’t heard anything about a possible cancellation there.
Fans in South Dakota were disappointed the concert was cut short but hoped Tyler wasn’t seriously hurt.
Lance Yellow Robe, who said he was 8 eight feet from the stage when Tyler fell off, told the Rapid City Journal “you could kind of see it coming because he was dancing all over the stage.
“I hope he’s OK,” Yellow Robe said. “I could care less about the concert being canceled.”
AP Music Writer Nekesa Moody in New York contributed to this report.
On the Net:
Buffalo Chip: www.buffalochip.com/
Sturgis rally: www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/
Tags: Buffalo, Canada, Celebrity, Dirico motorcycles, Manitoba, Music, Musicians, New York, North America, Rapid City, Rapid city journal, Rock Music, South Dakota, Steven tyler, United States, Winnipeg