Perhaps due to the “return to the roots” flavor of their new CD Honkin’ on Bobo, Aerosmith sounds like a hungry young band on this tour. For an hour and 45 minutes they mixed it up with crowd-pleasing hits and several of the blues covers featured on Bobo. The band really seemed to enjoy stomping through classics such as “Road Runner” and “Shame Shame Shame.” Much of that enthusiasm transferred to time-worn Aerosmith numbers like “Walk This Way” and “Dream On,” which managed to sound fresh in spite of eternal AOR radio rotation.
Despite almost 35 years in the business, Steven Tyler is still a human dynamo on stage, flinging his mic stand around, strutting like a hyperactive Mick Jagger and never missing a note, no matter how high. Joe Perry, who serves as Keith Richards to Tyler’s Jagger, seemed a bit like he was trying to earn his “guitar god” wings during some lengthy blues workouts and provided Aerosmith’s only real stumble in the form of a flubbed intro to “Stop Messin’ Around.”
While there weren’t any real surprises, Aerosmith is still able to deliver a powerful night of straight-ahead rock and roll. Unfortunately, show opener Cheap Trick sounded muddy and like a band who has been around long enough to be an influence phoning one in. The band played about half material from their new album Special One and half classics such as “Dream Police” and “Surrender.” The new songs are adequate, but just couldn’t bring the crowd to its feel like “I Want You To Want Me.” While Robin Zander still sounds strong and Rick Nielsen is still a gawky pick-tossing goof, you can’t watch Cheap Trick and not feel like this is a band whose best days are behind them.