Two thirds of how through a varied and charmingly scraggly set spanning 40 years of blues-informed rock and glam-saturated power pop, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler uttered something a bit dangerous. Well, dangerous for just about any band playing an 18,000-capacity venue like Ridgefield, Washington’s Amphitheater Northwest.
“We’re gonna play a song that we’ve never played with this tour, and we’re gonna see who fucks up first.”
And to be able, this guitar rock band dusted off a boogied-up version of “One Way Street,” a song that starts back to their 45-year-old self-titled debut. If there was clearly any fuck-ups, these folks were minor (including a small hiccup together with the teleprompter that led Tyler to holler, “Wrong lyrics!” with the techs working stageside), and so they wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Aerosmith were having way too much fun getting back on their roots as Boston’s best bar band.
For 120 minutes, that same mischievous and merry spirit held sway over Tyler with his fantastic four longtime bandmates, each one of whom are comfortably of their sixties. Their joints are a bit stiffer along with their vocals slightly thicker as they age, but anything else about the show exuded youthful, rebellious and ribald rock & roll energy. Not for nothing did Tyler contain the words “Lick Me” written about the base of his mic stand.
With Aerosmith back of their default mode of flamboyance and fun, the show became an experiment in attempting to summarize their 45-year evolution a single cohesive, entertaining set. Tyler and Co. are actually been mixing things up throughout this run of dates, swapping out one Seventies favorite for one more (underrated gems like “Lord on the Thighs” and “Let the Music Do the Talking” made appearances in past dates), while still making certain to deliver the hits from other late Eighties–early Nineties renaissance. For Tuesday’s show in Ridgefield, that meant tossing inside a searing version of “Last Child” from 1976’s Rocks between more-current hits “Jaded” and “Livin’ around the Edge.” It also meant trusting that their audience could handle a prolonged version from the early Fleetwood Mac cut “Stop Messin’ Around” whenever they followed this with their last Number One hit, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
To Aerosmith’s credit, they threw themselves completely into even that Diane Warren–penned power ballad, along with catty cuts like “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).” But there’s no denying which they pushed the gas pedal a bit harder about the old-school jams that allowed guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford to show off their blues chops — the duo traded solos and cut with the extended coda of encore closer “Sweet Emotion” having a serrated edge. During last night’s show, everything this era of Aerosmith fit all five men as comfortably as Tyler’s snug faux-snakeskin pants.
Another section of comfort to the lanky lead singer was his willingness to experience to the cameras that followed his every onstage move. The performance would be a reminder products a natural Tyler is, and of methods he translated his ferocious charisma for both late-Eighties MTV plus the millions tuning directly into American Idol quite a while back. Even though he was mainly communicating while using folks within the cheap seats, Tyler sang, mugged and spoke promptly into the lenses from the cameras as though he was being found in households around America. (He saved the crotch grabs and finger-licking gestures to the folks much closer on the stage.)
As slightly discomforting since it was to watch a 67-year-old making such overtly sexed-up moves, the sight spoke to how Tyler and this guitar rock band have been able to perform what most arena-rock bands can’t: connect to an array of ticket holders, ranging in Ridgefield from overheated elderly people to a gaggle of excitable teens, while employing the smallest amount of features. There were some silly touches finally night’s show, such as fake overheated amp that Perry played into when soloing on “Sweet Emotion” plus a big confetti blast to absolve the night. But beyond that, Aerosmith kept things easy and let their still-potent magnetism lead the charge. Impressively, which was more than enough.
“Train Kept A-Rollin'”
“Love in the Elevator”
“Livin’ around the Edge”
“Toys from the Attic”
“Stop Messin’ Around”
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
“One Way Street”
“Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”
“Walk This Way”