Aerosmith Concert Review
Lewisburg, WV July 6, 2013
If you are reading this concert review, chances are that you have no need for the usual walk down memory lane that is part and parcel to most musical performance appraisals. If you have any need to know who the major players in the history of the Aerosmith saga are, where the band hails from, the hit songs that they are associated with, or the myriad of factors which have contributed to a career that have resulted in the band reaching the highest heights ever attained by an American rock band, along with some of the lowest lows, then I must first offer you my pity. I then must advise you to brush up on rock history covering the years 1973 through to the present day.
The reasons for this advice are numerous and perfunctory, for in their four decades as a touring entity Aerosmith could never have made a bigger or stronger statement for rock fans to focus on who and what they are in the present day (2013), than the show that they put on in front of 25,000 fans at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, WV Saturday night.
After kicking off the show by rising from the front of the stage ramp to the sounds of “Love in an Elevator,” Steven Tyler and Joe Perry set the tone for an evening that saw the band exert a continual level of energy unmatched by a band of ANY vintage, much less a musical act still exhibiting an original lineup that formed over four decades ago.
Most groups of this, or even later era, generally suffer at the hands of a vocalist who can no longer hit the higher vocal notes, necessitating the band to play their songs at a lower key. No such concessions were needed for Mr. Tyler on Saturday night. Most groups that have been around this long are hampered by band members who have not taken very good care of their health over the years, and are therefore unable to put forth the same amount of energy as they did in their youth. Although various members of the band have had recent health concerns, these issues were not an overwhelming source of apprehension for the band during this particular tour stop.
By presenting a set list featuring career spanning works such as “Draw the Line” and “Living on the Edge,” while including cover songs by Fleetwood Mac, “Stop Messin’ Around”, and the Beatles hit “Come Together,” as well as a few lines from the James Brown tune “Mother Popcorn,” before launching into “Walk This Way,” Aerosmith combined predictable hits with a few surprises from not only their own back catalog, but solid cuts from other acts. The obligatory encore of “Dream On” featured Tyler playing a white grand piano with Joe Perry standing on top of it during his guitar solo to the cheers of tens of thousands. A very thin but effective Tom Hamilton walked to the front of the stage ramp displaying his ample bass skills, and shaking off his recent health problems, during the closing number “Sweet Emotion”.
It is the combination of all of the above mentioned factors, coalesced with their undiminished talent, as well as the rather sad state of rock radio format, that finds Aerosmith standing virtually alone as not only a bright light from Rock & Roll’s past, but a standard bearer for Rock & Roll’s present, and a rare source of hope for its future.