Aerosmith and Cheap Trick
July 29, 2010
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
It was hard to decide with whom to be more disappointed--the rock band 20 years past its prime, or the arena filled with loyal fans who couldn't remember the lyrics. That is not to say that Aerosmith's entire set last night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater was a complete disaster. In fact, there are plenty of good things to mention.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
For starters, lead singer Steven Tyler's feline wail is as mighty as ever--no trifle fact considering the man's age and the decades he's endured living hard. Furthermore, guitarist Joe Perry, despite grimacing throughout the set as if in excruciating pain, still shreds--though sadly, the biggest demonstration of his axemanship came toward the end of the set when he played along to his own avatar in Rock Star, the game. Hard to say if he was advertising his ability to rock, or simply advertising a product.
Happily, the band focused its set on the material that made them famous, and there was plenty of it: "Love in an Elevator," "Walk this Way," Cryin,'" "Dream On," "Sweet Emotion" and "Livin' on the Edge." And despite looking as aged as a well-preserved mummy, Tyler gave 110 percent throughout the set: shimmying, dancing and using his trademark scarf covered mic stand as a de-facto whip.
But the first crack in the night's glossy veneer came when Tyler was singing the opening bars to "What it Takes," off 1989's Pump. He turned the mic to the crowd, who in turn murmured incoherently in unison. Tyler responded "So you ain't going to sing for me tonight? Fuck it. I'll do it all!" And he did so, without missing a beat, except of course when he did miss a beat and referred to the Irvine crowd as an LA audience.
Perhaps the lowest point of the night was when Tyler and company turned the stage over to Joey Kramer, who performed an impotent, unimpressive minutes-long drum solo. Plodding along with his mouth agape, Kramer looked like a fish out of water. And the solo--intended to be a sonic representation of musical virtuosity, was as compelling as a bag of flour being opened.
For some bizarre reason, there was a teleprompter on stage piping in the lyrics. There were moments in the second half of the set when Tyler was resting his elbow on Perry's shoulder looked as if he might fall asleep. Looking at the massive crowd of moms and dads desperate to relive the glory days of snakeskin spandex and bandanas only made the whole thing seem more pathetic and even a little depressing.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
I had to admit, any band that has made it this long and continues to put as much effort into their show ultimately deserves a pass. In the end, they may have nothing left to prove. And if people have fun wearing snakeskin spandex and listening to this music, they deserve a pass as well.
Show opener Cheap Trick was a joy to watch; drummer Daxx Nielsen, is currently filling in for long-time drummer Bun E. Carlos, actually delivered a rousing mid-set drum solo.
Personal Bias: I'm a big fan of the Cheap Trick song "Surrender." They played it and I had to resist the urge to sing along. The urge won out.
Overheard: "Sounds like Keith Moon," said one nearby fan during Nielsen's drum solo.
The Crowd: Truly worthy of narration. As mentioned earlier, snakeskin spandex was in effect, as were stilettos worn by leggy cougars in tight black mini dresses. At least one man was spotted wearing tie-dyed jeans and a top hat. There were also preteen girls clad in 10-hole Dr. Martins. Do I sense a style-resurgence in the works?