Aerosmith The Forum 7/30/14 If you would have told rock fans at the beginning of the 1980s that Aerosmith would be relevant 30 years later, they would have looked at you and laughed. Naysayers would have doubted that Steven Tyler would hold it together and Joe Perry would ever return, let alone be as strong of a player as he was at the band's onset.
The band's show at The Forum showcased the band's catalog of hits, along with a few rarities that likely brought smiles to the faces of hardcore fans. Tyler's showmanship--including his newfound mustache--and bluster were at their most theatrical. Twirling his mic stand constantly and showcasing dance moves befitting of someone his age made up for what he lacked vocally. Granted, for 66, Tyler is doing just fine, but you can't help but wonder if this could be the last tour before his voice plateaus.
Even if Tyler had trouble remembering the lyrics for certain songs--there was a teleprompter in plain sight on the band's gigantic screen during "Rag Doll"--the theatrics of the big rock show made up for it. Intricate lights and multiple cameras added to the show, as did the inclusion of long time pal Johnny Depp who joined them for a cover of Bull Moose Jackson's "Big Ten Inch Record."
Aerosmith isn't known as a jam band by any stretch of the imagination. But, their roots are deeply seeded in traditional blues rock and when they deviated from song structure on "Lord of the Thighs" and "Kings and Queens," they were at their best. Perry's extended solos demonstrated why he's considered one of the best axehandlers of all time. The grooves were tight and structured, and at times loose and exploratory. His playing on these songs made up for a potential mid-set mishap with "Freedom Fighter" off the band's last record, Music From Another Dimension, which had people scurrying towards the beer lines.
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What the band has managed to do with their live show is give fans a taste of every era, leaving a little bit for every one. Fans from every era could fondly singalong to their favorite hits, including the safest song in their catalog: the bloated "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." Ballads aside, what's made the band favorites over the years is their ability to rock. Even if their outfits demonstrated otherwise, Aerosmith proved that when they're on, they can still pound out a strong show even if their best songs are behind them.
Set list: Back in the Saddle Eat the Rich Love in an Elevator Cryin' Livin' on the Edge Monkey on My Back Kings and Queens Toys in the Attic Rag Doll Freedom Fighter Big Ten Inch Record (Bull Moose Jackson cover) (with Johnny Depp) Lord of the Thighs I Don't Want to Miss a Thing No More No More Dude (Looks Like a Lady) Walk This Way
Encore: Dream On (With Southern California Children's Chorus) Sweet Emotion