There are a handful of bands I’ve always wanted to see live. The Beatles, Queen (with Freddie Mercury) and Aerosmith. Well, one out of three ain’t bad. Toss in Cheap Trick as the opening act and you’ve got the makings of one hell of a rock extravaganza. This was the second time I had seen Cheap Trick live. The first opportunity came when they opened for Meat Loaf on his ‘Bat Out of Hell 2,’ tour. The Trick was one of the major driving forces in rock music back in the 1970 and early 1980’s. Their ground breaking live album ‘Live At Budokan,’ to this day is regarded as a classic and one of the best live albums ever released.
This evening the stars must have been aligned in just the right place as Cheap Trick took command of the stage and rocked the Office Depot Center. All four original members, Robin Zander (lead vocals), Rick Nielsen (guitars), Bun E Carlos (drums) and Tom Petersson (bass) brought their A game as they kicked into their biggest hits. There were no fillers here. “I Want You to Want Me,” “Dream Police,” “Surrender,” and “In The Street,” raised the roof and brought the rock faithful to their feet time and time again. Zander’s voice has never been stronger, Nielsen’s incredible guitar playing was never crisper (pick flicking antics and all), Carlos’ steady drum kept the heartbeat, Petersson’s bass added to the wall of sound. Though Trick in their heyday were the headliners of world tours, their second seat tonight was on par with the best of best in today’s musical landscape. In fact, they’re probably better than most of the artists currently on the Top 100 chart.
I have always loved Aerosmith and regarded them as one of the best American bands in the world of rock. Their track record speaks for itself. Their early 1970’s material is considered classics by most of the rock critics and their most recent releases are chart topping mega hits even by today’s standards. Steven Tyler is bar none of the finest, sexiest, and most electric front men ever to strut across the concert stage. Lead guitarist Joe Perry has a charisma and style all his own. The boys from Boston have always been the hardest playing (on stage and off), hardest rocking, and fastest moving bands in the biz. Their off stage antics are legendary; they have given the phrase, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll,” its true meaning, sometimes with disastrous results. Now with all five members clean and sober for years, Aerosmith’s train kept rolling right into Sunrise Florida to a sold out standing room only crowd. It is time to rock!
Aerosmith’s set was the proverbial ‘greatest hits,’ set list of all time. Though they did perform a handful of songs from their latest release ‘Honkin’ on Bobo,’ the band had an endless repertoire to choose from. Sixteen albums to select from are quite a feet and this night Aerosmith picked the best of the best. Tyler being the ultimate showman, dressed in a long jacket, skin tight suit, microphone stand draped in his signature scarf, not only ran and danced across the stage but took to a dangling rope and swung himself over the audience. He also threw in a summersault or two. Not bad for an upper aged rocker. And the jacket he draped himself in didn’t stay on his body for long. His voice was exceptional, howling, growling throughout the hall, belting out hit after hit. High voltage is an understatement. Had we lost power in the arena Aerosmith alone could have juiced us back up to full capacity running on adrenaline. Perry’s guitar riffs were right on target and a wonderful lesson to musicians everywhere. He is one of the best out there. The band as always was tight as drum. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Aerosmith still rocking and rolling well into their sixties and beyond. I’ll be right there with them every step of the way.
Aerosmith’s 2 hour set list included:
Walk This Way / Dream On / Sweet Emotion / Jaded / Livin On the Edge / Cryin / Train Kept A Rollin / Love In An Elevator / Dude Looks Like a Lady / Janie’s Got A Gun