Aerosmith slowing down? Dream On.

A review of Aerosmith at the Tweeter Center on September 14, 2007

, Staff

One of the few events worthy of prying a Bostonian away from watching a late-season, Friday night game against the much despised New York Yankees is a homecoming concert featuring the original bad boys of Boston, Aerosmith. To say Steven Tyler and the boys simply went through the motions and put on an average performance would be like saying the 2004 baseball season was a mediocre one for the Red Sox. Aerosmith electrified the sold-out Tweeter Center for nearly two hours with their best performance in years, offering a set list that spanned the band’s lengthy and equally legendary catalog.

Aerosmith took the stage after a brief, humorous video depicting their recent travels and opened with “Love in an Elevator”. From the opening note it was classic Tyler, expertly covering all quadrants of the stage, wearing a long coat and carrying his trademark scarf-laden microphone. The next song saw guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford launch into the first classic cut of the show, “Same Old Song and Dance.” Both guitarists had many moments of brilliance throughout the show, each taking a turn playing rhythm guitar while the other played lead. However, the majority of the solo work went to Perry and he played brilliantly, including a 12-string, acoustic lead-in to the 1973 classic, “Movin’ Out.” The Aerosmith rhythm section, consisting of drummer Joey Kramer and bassist Tom Hamilton, certainly held their own, evidenced by the driving beat and strong bass line in the third song, “Cryin’” off the 1993 album, Get a Grip.&

The switch between classic and more recent songs was indicative of the rest of the setlist. To the delight of the thousands of older fans that grew up getting their wings, the band played searing versions of “Last Child”, “Walking the Dog” and “Rats in the Cellar.” The younger fans in attendance, many of whom were seated between their parents, were treated to newer tunes including strong versions of “Pink”, “What It Takes” and “Livin’ On the Edge.” The band mercifully did not play the one song that brings most Aerosmith concerts to a grinding halt, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”&

One of the highlights of the evening was Joe Perry assuming lead vocals and lead guitar on the Aerosmith cover of the Fleetwood Mac blues song “Stop Messin’ Around.” Opening act and Boston blues legend James Montgomery joined the band on stage and engaged in a harmonica duel with Steven Tyler, a duel that Montgomery won hands down.

The defining moment of the show came once the first few notes of “Dream On” were played. The audience roared their approval and became a sea of flickering, butane-fueled light as Tyler’s flawless vocals led the band as they knocked their signature hit out of the venue. Every fan of classic rock should hear “Dream On” at least once in concert before the good Lord takes them away. It’s one of the few songs that when played live will consistently send chills up your spine.&

The band closed with back-to-back classics “Sweet Emotion,” which began with a thumping bass solo from Hamilton, and “Draw the Line,” one of the few songs where Steven Tyler’s voice was slightly sub par. The show concluded with the crowd-pleasing encore “Walk This Way” and band introductions from Tyler and Perry.

There seems to be an indirect relationship between age and quality when it comes to some of the active, veteran bands still touring. As their age increases, the quality of the music and live performance decreases. This was clearly not the case Friday night as Boston’s most legendary rock and roll band delivered an energetic, hard-hitting, hard-rocking performance, proving that with age comes musical wisdom.

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