Arts & Music
Aerosmith rocks old gems, new dimension at Forum in Tampa
In Dream On, off Aerosmith's self-titled 1973 debut album, Steve Tyler sings about seeing the lines in the mirror. But a raucous, 120-minute show at the Forum Tuesday night showed the lines on the band's 60-and-over faces may be the only real difference, performance-wise, from the mid 70s. Ok, so it was probably unlikely that Tyler, seen on video monitors before coming on stage working with dumbells, was lifting anything other than 12-ounce curls back then. But when it came to sound and energy, Tyler could still hit the highest of notes with ease, Joe Perry showed he is still one of rock's preeminent lead guitarists, and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton on the bass and Joey Kramer on the drums were as tight as ever. From the opening notes of Mama Kin to Sweet Emotion, which ended with Tyler doing an acrobatic tumble on stage while a storm of confetti fell down from the rafters, Aerosmith showed that, 39 years after releasing the first of their now 15 albums, this is a band still at the top of its game, not just a bunch of relics pushing out weary standards for a paycheck.Tyler, at 64, was still the rooster strutting on stage, engaging the packed house, jumping on the piano during Dream On, one of the many classics – like Walk This Way, the ultimate coming-of-age anthem – the band brought to life. Perry too brought amazing energy to the stage, blazing through guitar riffs, like the one from Dream On, that have gone on to be used as house music by classic rock stations around the country. After throwing his sticks out to the crowd, Kramer used his hands and, eventually, his head during an extended drum solo, which lasted until Tyler hammed his way in, making it a duet. Maybe the other biggest difference between Tuesday night and the days when Tyler lived on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, was the air inside the Forum.It was remarkably smoke free, with the only a hint of marijuana in the air, and that lasting only momentarily during the opening act, Cheap Trick. When the last notes of Sweet Emotion faded away, Tyler, like one of the characters from his songs, made a promise to an adoring audience. "We'll be back," he said. Given the way Aerosmith rocked the house, it would be hard to bet against him.