The Sun Chronicle, MA
June 30, 2009
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – They may come from different parts of the country and offer somewhat different types of rock music, but Aerosmith and ZZ Top are thrown together on this tour.
The Texas pop rockers ZZ Top and Boston’s own Aerosmith performed Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Their joint show isn’t so strange as both had their big start in the 1970s, became even more popular in the 1980s through music videos on TV, and are now considered among the classic rock genre. And both were influenced by the blues.
A twist for this tour, Aerosmith is playing its 1975 breakout third album, the blues heavy “Toys in the Attic” that spent about two years near the top of the charts, for the first time live: “Toys in the Attic,” “Uncle Salty,” “Adam’s Apple,” “Walk This Way,” “Big Ten Inch,” “Sweet Emotion,” “No More No More,” “Round And Round,” but minus “You See Me Crying.” A few are never played live.
Aerosmith, the top American hard rock band during the 1970s, opened with the title track of “Toys in the Attic,” one of Rolling Stone’s top albums of all time, but held off on the album’s other songs for a bit.
After the 1993 power ballad “Cryin’” and “Love in an Elevator,” a No. 5 tune from 1989, frontman Steven Tyler, 61, and sizzling guitarist Joe Perry, 58, together sang the old blues number from Rufus Thomas, “Walkin’ the Dog.”
Perry and Tyler often made use of a walkway that extended from the stage into the crowd.
“Dream On,” a No. 6 smash off the 1973 debut “Aerosmith” album, has always been a splendid song.
Perry took over lead vocals on the rarely played “Combination,” off of 1976’s “Rocks.”
After a couple of mediocre songs off “Toys in the Attic,” the energy heightened with “Walk This Way” and bass opening “Sweet Emotion.”
Perry, who switched guitars quite frequently, played a double-neck guitar on 1993’s “Livin’ on the Edge.” “Draw the Line” wrapped up the entertaining set.
For the encore, it was their cover of the 1950’s gem, “Train Kept a Rollin” the Yardbirds made famous in the 60s, and the band’s well-done cover of The Beatles “Come Together” that was featured in the movie, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Aerosmith usually includes the former in their encore.
While bassist Tom Hamilton, 57, is back after a bout with cancer, guitarist Brad Whitford was not in the band, recovering from a medical problem.
Known for its live shows, ZZ Top opened. With their beards and cars, ZZ Top is known for its image, but unfortunately that does take away from what exceptional musicians they are, especially guitarist Billy Gibbons, who Jimi Hendrix once gave high praise.
Kicking off the show with “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Waitin’ For the Bus,” the trio let into a string of their ’80s hits, “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs,” a No. 8 song. ZZ Top wrapped up with two of their ’70s classics, “La Grange,” their first hit, and “Tush.”
Some of the songs were drowned out a bit by too much bass.
The J. Giels Band, The Cars, and Boston also come from the Hub, but Aerosmith remains the most popular rock band to come from the city. Resembling the Rolling Stones to some degree, the band has scored 21 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, four Grammy Awards and 10 MTV Video Music Awards.
ZZ Top, which epitomizes the popularity during the 70s and 80s of three-member bands such as Rush, Genesis, The Police and Supertramp and has been compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd, has sold over 30 million records worldwide. They broke Beatles attendance records at mid-’70s concerts.