By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - Thousands of music fans clogged a Boston street on Monday to hear Grammy award-winning rock band Aerosmith perform a free concert in front of the apartment building where the musicians began their career four decades ago.
The band blared out hits including "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" from the back of a specially converted tractor-trailer while area residents hung out windows, sat on balconies and stood on rooftops to hear the noontime concert.
"It feels like the world stood still for this. It feels like it was yesterday," lead singer Steven Tyler told Reuters in an interview after the concert.
The band played to mark the release of its 15th studio album, "Music from Another Dimension," due out on Tuesday.
Aerosmith's five members signed a plaque that Boston plans to mount outside the apartment building in the Allston neighborhood where they lived in the early days of a career that has brought them four Grammy awards and more than 20 Top 40 hits.
"That used to be my bedroom," lead guitarist Joe Perry yelled to a woman looking out a second-story window.
The crowd of thousands included teenagers holding signs declaring that they had skipped school to see the show, celebrities such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and fans whose history with the band went back to its 1970 founding.
"I always loved Aerosmith. They were one of the first rock bands I got into growing up in Brazil," said Michelle Fernandes, 43, waiting for the concert to start.
When she moved to the United States in 2003, Fernandes was surprised to learn that she was working in an office down the street from where her favorite band got its start, Fernandes said.
"How cool is that?" she said.
The band has always kept up its ties to a city that is home to hundreds of thousands of college students.
"When there's groups of young people like there are in colleges towns like this, there's a lot of passion," Tyler said. "We love that."
While the band relished the chance to see its old neighborhood, Perry declined to go into the apartment, where the band wrote songs including "Movin' Out."
"I didn't want to go into it to see what it looked like today because I like the memory of what it was when we were there," Perry told Reuters. "I didn't want to see it all polished and spiffed up."
On Thursday Aerosmith resumes its tour with a show in Oklahoma City.
(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)