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Aerosmith Does Not Dissapoint Fans in 'Homecoming' at Tweeter Center

2-Hour, 17-Song Set is Riveting (I was at this show!)

By Craig S. Semon
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

MANSFIELD - While it may have been the "Same Old Song and Dance," when the band is Aerosmith these are songs and dances you just can’t get enough of.

Hands down the best rock band to hail from the Bay State and, arguably, the best rock band to hail from America, Aerosmith delivered the goods (and showed no signs of slowing down) during an electrifying, two-hour, 17-song set Friday night at the Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts.

And, during this homecoming, of sorts, Aerosmith - a band that has created the soundtrack of high schoolers - daydreams and rebellious high jinks consistently for 35 years - had the crowd eating out of their hands.

Aerosmith's own "Toxic Twins," flamboyant frontman Steven Tyler and fevered guitar-slinger Joe Perry, fronted the band through vintage rock material and several MTV-era hits, pleasing both fan camps. Tyler and Perry are the equivalent of the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; like the Stones, Aerosmith has a tight rhythm section in the capable hands of bassist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joey Kramer and guitarist Brad Whitford - apparently the only one in the band who hasn’t heard of "Just for Men" and one of the few in the band who don’t raid their wife’s wardrobe.

Although there are probably 20 or so better songs in the Aerosmith catalog to open up the evening, "Love in an Elevator" (from 1989’s

"Pump") revved up the crowd and pushed all the right buttons with Tyler’s unabashed behavior, not-so-subtle double-entendres and enthusiastic, call-and-response with the audience.

Fresh from his recent "Fashion Rocks" triumph, Tyler took center stage with aplomb, storming the illuminated catwalk that stretched out 20 rows into the good seats. Wearing a wide-rim black hat, long black coat, purple scarf, black tank top, painted-on jeans and dark sunglasses, Tyler twirled his multi-scarved microphone stand and unabashedly flirted with the ladies in the crowd, whether he was the same age, double their age, triple their age and even, gulp, quadruple their age.

Not only did he earn his wings in the elitist "Guitar God" club long before he became the focus of the up-and-coming "Guitar Hero IV," Perry came out looking like a rock ’n’ roll sky pilot, complete with a long black coat, leather pants, military cap, long red aviator scarf and dark sunglasses (apparently, when you’re this cool, the shades are a prerequisite). Although fashionable, Perry was more concerned with blistering fretwork, which he delivered in songs that, despite some being over three decades old, haven’t lost their flavor.

The show glittered when the Bad Boys from Boston proved they are much better than mere MTV darlings. "Same Old Song and Dance," "Rats in the Cellar," "Last Child" and "Sweet Emotion" are still fierce, ferocious rockers that obliterated any saccharine buildup left behind by the ever-so-earnest but schmaltzy power ballads "Cryin’ " and "What It Takes."

With spine-tingling vocals and awe-inspiring guitar playing, Aerosmith’s take on Van Morrison and Them’s 1965 cover of Big Joe Williams’ "Baby, Please Don’t Go" was a rousing, roof-raising rocker, as well as an exciting and dynamic showcase.

Although at times Tyler looked like one of the Barbie Twins, the Toxic Twins showed their unshakable chemistry, infectious camaraderie and taste for risqué comedy during an unplugged, sit-down version of "Movin’ Out."

When they were not sharing witty, un-PC banter that was more smutty than Smothers Brothers, Tyler howled the blues and Perry, through his 12-string acoustic guitar, howled right back.

"Dream On," the granddaddy of all power ballads, is still a spine-tingling treat, as is the full-throttle rocker, "S.O.S. (Too Bad)," which erupted in a frenetic jam, complete with Tyler unleashing ferocious vocals and rattling a big, bulbous shaker.

Proving once again that the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are deeply indebted to deep belly blues, Perry shot blistering guitar licks and sang lead for the blues boogie, "Stop Messin’ Round," which featured opening act (and Aerosmith buddy) James Montgomery schooling Tyler on how to play a mean harmonica.

For the slide-guitar-driven scorcher "Draw the Line," Perry literally whipped his guitar into submission with his scarlet shirt, which (after several whacks) rained silver confetti on the crowd.

The evening closed with the encore, "Walk This Way." Wearing a rose-colored blouse and peach-colored pants, Tyler strutted his stuff and frenetically delivered his timeless, hormonally charged rap, while Perry delivered one of the most memorable and unmistakable riffs in rock.

 

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