In Dazed and Confused, a film that got here out 29 years in the past and takes place 17 years earlier in 1976, somebody declares that getting Aerosmith tickets is “the highest precedence of the summer season.” Final night time (Sept. 8), as summer season 2022 drew to an in depth, Aerosmith was once more the most popular ticket round, celebrating their fiftieth anniversary with nice panache in entrance of a hometown viewers at Boston’s Fenway Park, just a few blocks from the place they began out.
Has time collapsed? How does Steven Tyler, 74, nonetheless look and sound nearly as good as he does, hitting the notes and making each lick of stage patter sound like a unclean joke? “Let’s pull one from our again pocket,” he asided to fellow Poisonous Twin Joe Perry earlier than a blistering “Mama Kin.” Later, he yelled, “Give it up for our fiftieth annifuckingversary!”
That is technically Aerosmith’s 52nd annifuckingversary, however the Fenway present was delayed for 2 years by, effectively, you recognize. Perhaps all that point we spent huddled inside watching outdated motion pictures actually did ship us right into a loop, trapping us in our private 1976 or 1993 or wherever we took essentially the most consolation, because the seasons withered round us? Steven Tyler doesn’t appear like a 74-year-old a lot as a person who has been 37 for 37 years.
However no: Time has not stopped. Anybody who watched Vince Neil wander by way of Mötley Crüe’s present at Fenway final month can verify the clock retains ticking — exhausting. However Tyler, Perry and the remainder of Aerosmith have reached a detente with time by simply refusing to interact: The Fountain of Youth appears to be play.
Aerosmith are a band that performs, in each sense — they appear like they’re having enjoyable, sure, however they’re additionally taking part in the hell out of these guitars and drums and yeah, that harmonica. Loads of bands of their station and standing can nonetheless ship completely serviceable exhibits that play like jukebox musicals, with luxurious assist from tight schedules, sweetening and further musicians. Aerosmith had additional palms on deck Thursday — the saxman was a cool contact — however you can see the core bandmates nonetheless pushing themselves, and experimenting. It’s beautiful.
They demonstrated their tightness within the opening numbers — the on-the-nose “Again within the Saddle” and “Similar Outdated Tune and Dance” — however sounded even higher once they loosened it up with enjoyable, riskier takes on outdated classics. How are they nonetheless discovering new methods to play “Candy Emotion”? Thursday’s prolonged and exploratory “Dazed and Confused”-style opening was spellbinding. Delicate little niceties jumped out in every single place, like hammering the “Love in an Elevator” piano plinks additional exhausting to convey up its there-if-you-look Beatles connections. All the time, they wore their love of blues on their flowing, glittery sleeves. Bobo bought honked.
Fundamental notes for rock historical past: the climate was good. Perry and Tyler mentioned the present set a Fenway attendance file, and the powerful parking scenario bore that out. Hours beforehand, Tyler visited the Boston condominium the place the band lived and recorded “Dream On” half a century in the past. The present was held on the identical night time Aerosmith formally outlived the Queen of England.
At one level, essentially the most Boston factor ever occurred: the group adopted the ballpark chant LET’S GO AEROSMITH [CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP]. That wasn’t essentially the most Boston factor although — not fairly. Probably the most Boston factor was when Tyler appeared on high of Fenway’s legendary Inexperienced Monster to play “Dream On” on a grand piano, fireworks flaring above him.
The present got here after some troublesome months for the band. Tyler had a by-all-accounts profitable stint in rehab within the spring after years of sobriety, however there’s a bizarre scenario with drummer Joey Kramer, who’s suing his bandmates and likewise misplaced his spouse Linda earlier this yr. Drum tech John Douglas is filling in, very capably, till the band’s relationship with Kramer is sorted out.
Aerosmith picks up once more subsequent week with a Las Vegas residency it began again in April 2019, earlier than COVID knocked that prepare off its tracks. A transparent crowd favourite at these exhibits, and on Thursday, was “I Don’t Wish to Miss a Factor,” improbably Aerosmith’s largest hit.
After they got here out with that energy ballad, a love music for a blockbuster asteroid-coming-to-kill-us-all film in 1998, it felt to followers like myself, who grew up on “Stroll This Manner,” like a sappy however forgivable victory lap on a unbelievable run that was in all probability winding down. Little did we all know that the music marked nearly the precise midpoint in Aerosmith’s profession … or not less than their profession thus far. In fact, they’re nonetheless right here taking part in with time, all these years after the apocalypse. See them whilst you nonetheless can. You’ll die earlier than they do.