The Detroit News, MI
July 6, 2012
Aerosmith casually pulled off an impressive feat Thursday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
During a solid, near-capacity concert at the Detroit Pistons’ home, the veteran rock group worked through songs from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and today, seamlessly tying them together in one sweaty two-hour show the band has dubbed, appropriately enough, the Global Warming tour.
Aerosmith should have long since retired to the oldies circuit; the band hasn’t released an album of new material since 2001’s “Just Push Play.” Yet the group still somehow feels vital, and Thursday’s concert didn’t have the feel of an old group going through the motions and collecting a paycheck. The show felt surprisingly alive.
Frontman Steven Tyler, still slithering around the stage at 64, has rock star DNA; that’s the only way it can be explained that he still looks cool when down on all fours, humping the stage. His profile has been bolstered by his stint as a judge on “American Idol,” but the stage is where he belongs.
If he and his bandmates are at odds, as has been hinted at for years, they’re able to put that behind them in concert, and Aerosmith still works well as a unit.
Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry may not be hanging out and watching Jimmy Fallon together after every show, but they work well together on stage, leaning into the same microphone and striking iconic poses the same way they have been for decades. The only member of the group who seems off-message is rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, who on Thursday was dressed like a Civil War reenactor while his bandmates wore glittery rock outfits.
The show opened with “Draw the Line,” with Tyler and Perry at the end of a long catwalk that jutted out halfway across the Palace floor. They nimbly rolled into “Love in an Elevator” and the new offering “Oh Yeah,” before segueing into “Livin’ on the Edge,” meaning by the fourth song they had already taken on four separate decades of material (’70s, ’80s, now and ’90s, respectively). Song five, “Jaded” — from 2001 — completed the cycle.
The stage was relatively low frills, with the band backed by a large video wall. There was no pyro and no overly fancy lighting cues, just the band and its resilient catalog of hits, with the throwaway “Falling In Love (Is Hard on the Knees)” feeling like the only dud in the 18-song set. “What It Takes,” which Tyler opened by singing the first verse a capella, was a surprisingly strong highlight, and even the requisite drum solo showed signs of life.
The finale brought out a string of classics — “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way,” “Dream On” — and when the show closed with “Train Kept a Rollin’,” the message was clear. Against conventional wisdom, Aerosmith rolls on, proving why the group made it this far in the first place.