Live: Aerosmith Kick Off ‘Let Rock Rule’ Tour With All the Hits in New York
By Brian Ives
Has there ever been a rock band who were as popular and commercially viable for as long as Aerosmith? From their 1973 self-titled debut through their No. 1 1998 hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” the band were a juggernaut in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. By now, it’d be easy for them to coast on the strength of their hits in concert.
But “coasting” ain’t in their huge repertoire, as they showed at the premiere show of their “Let Rock Rule” tour last night (July 10) at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Long Island, N.Y. Over the course of a 18-song, two-hour show, they went deep with a set that eschewed several well-known songs (like “Last Child,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Pink,” any number of single-word-title ballads) for ’70s tracks like “Kings and Queens,” “No More No More” and “Chip Away the Stone,” which was never even on a proper album, instead appearing on the concert album Live Bootleg and later on the Gems collection.
They stretched out considerably on “Rats in the Cellar” (from 1976’s Rocks), jamming at the song’s end. They’re tight enough players that they could grow out their songs to Zeppelin-like lengths in concert if they chose to do so. “That’s what this band is all about!” Steven Tyler hollered after the song.
Another thing the band is about: Tyler’s ageless charisma. While the band jams on their instruments, he plays the audience with a skill unmatched by anyone in rock music. He gained a few extra cheers during “Livin’ on the Edge,” when he wandered to the VIP section and shared the mic with his daughter, Liv (standing with her Leftovers co-star Justin Theroux). But he rarely stayed still throughout the show, save for his piano playing during “Dream On.”
Another thing that the band is all about is the camaraderie between Tyler and Joe Perry. There’s a perception that the two hate each other (helped by Tyler’s now-infamous “Yeah, I’m that good” comment on an interview with “60 Minutes”). Well, if that’s true, they kept the drama off the stage. Unlike, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who generally don’t interact too much onstage at Rolling Stones shows, Tyler and Perry share the mic often, with Tyler draping himself over the guitarist often throughout the show. He did the same, but less often, with bassist Tom Hamilton and guitarist Brad Whitford.
Probably disappointing very few people was the fact that they didn’t nod much to their recent past, playing one post-2000 song, the Joe Perry -sung “Freedom Fighter,” from their most recent album, 2012’s Music From Another Dimension. What was more disappointing was that they didn’t jam with opening act, Slash- even though they performed with him at a press conference announcing the tour in April.
Speaking of the top-hatted guitarist, his backing band — Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — played a high-energy set that was heavy on the Guns N Roses songs (perfect for the Aerosmith audience): “Nighttrain,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “You Could Be Mine” and “Paradise City,” as well as one from Velvet Revolver, “Slither.” While the audience was a bit thin when the band took the stage, by the end of “Paradise City,” the venue was packed, hoping to see more of Slash later in the show. Hopefully as the tour progresses, the shows will feature some face-melting guitar jams between the two acts. But last night at Jones Beach, each band scorched on their own.
Back in the Saddle
Eat the Rich
Love in an Elevator
Livin’ on the Edge
Kings and Queens
Toys in the Attic
Same Old Song and Dance
Rats in the Cellar
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
No More No More
Chip Away the Stone
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Walk This Way
(photos by Dana Distortion)