There are plenty of reasons to hate Aerosmith. The guys are old and wrinkled (and they certainly don't look great in high-definition), and they haven’t put a decent album in years. But then you could say the same thing about the Stones. But like the Stones, Aerosmith is a veteran group that really knows how to work an arena. Playing last night before a packed house at Quicken Loans Arena, singer Steven Tyler and his geriatric pals stuck to the tried and true as they delivered all their hits and put on an entertaining 90-minute show that had only a few lulls.
Thanks to the attention Tyler has received as an American Idol judge, the band attracted younger fans than usual, too, suggesting the timing for this tour, which arrives in advance of a new album, is perfect (at least from a commercial standpoint).
Opening with the bluesy “Draw the Line,” the band didn’t take long to launch into hits such as “Love in an Elevator,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” “Cryin’” and “Rag Doll.” In between those tracks, the guys inserted both a new song (“Oh Yeah”) and an old school blues number (“Walkin’ the Dog”). Letting guitarist Joe Perry take over lead vocal duties for “Combination” wasn’t the wisest choice – he sang OK, but he was hardly an engaging front man.
The band got back on track, however, with “Mama Kin” and then followed the tune with rousing renditions of “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way” before coming back out for an encore that found Tyler rising from underneath the stage on a piano to play “Dream On.” While he couldn’t quite hit all the right notes, Tyler’s enthusiasm and outlandish outfits made up for his vocal limitations. He even directed the cameramen to make sure they got the right angles when they were filming him for projection on the giant video monitor.
Cheap Trick opened with a set that was plagued by a muddy sound mix. Still, the veteran power-pop band sounded sharp on tunes such as “Dream Police” and “No Surrender,” the latter of which closed out the band’s 40-minute opening set.