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.” On Thursday, as summer season 2022 drew to a detailed, Aerosmith was once more the most popular ticket round, celebrating their fiftieth anniversary with nice panache earlier than a hometown viewers in Boston’s Fenway Park, a couple of blocks from the place they began out.
Has time collapsed? How does Steven Tyler, 74, nonetheless look and sound pretty much 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, properly, you already know. Perhaps all that point we spent huddled inside, watching outdated motion pictures, actually did ship us right into a loop, trapping us in our private 1976 or 1993 or wherever we took probably the most consolation, because the seasons withered round us? Steven Tyler doesn’t seem 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 – onerous. However Tyler and Perry and the remainder of the band 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 seem 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. Quite a lot 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 further fingers 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 They demonstrated their tightness within the opening numbers — the on-the-nose “Again within the Saddle” and “Similar Outdated Tune and Dance” — however sounded even higher after they loosened it up with enjoyable, riskier enjoyable takes on outdated classics.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 further onerous to convey up its there-if-you-look Beatles connections. At all times, they wore their love of blues on their flowing, glittery sleeves. Bobo received honked.
Primary notes for rock historical past: The climate was excellent. Perry and Tyler stated the night time set a Fenway attendance file, and the robust parking state of affairs bore that out. Hours earlier than the present, Tyler visited the Boston house 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, probably the most Boston factor ever occurred: The gang adopted the ballpark chant LET’S GO AEROSMITH [CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP]. That wasn’t probably the most Boston factor, not fairly: Essentially the most Boston factor was when Tyler appeared on prime of Fenway’s legendary Inexperienced Monster to play “Dream On” on a grand piano, fireworks flaring above him.
The night time 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. And there’s a bizarre state of affairs with drummer Joey Kramer, who’s suing his bandmates and likewise misplaced his spouse, Linda, earlier this 12 months. Drum tech John Douglas is filling in, very capably, till the band’s relationship with Kramer is sorted out.
The band picks up subsequent week with a Las Vegas residency it began again in April 2019, earlier than COVID knocked that practice off its tracks. A transparent crowd favourite at these exhibits, and on Thursday, was “I Don’t Need to Miss a Factor,” Aerosmith’s greatest hit.
After they got here out with the facility 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 incredible 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 to date. After all, they’re nonetheless right here taking part in with time, all these years after the apocalypse. See them when you nonetheless can. You’ll die earlier than they do.