Friday night in Oakland, Aerosmith played their first U.S. show since singer Steven Tyler fell from the stage in South Dakota on August 5, 2009, and broke his shoulder. The past year has been one of the most dramatic in the band's four-decadecareer. Since tumbling off stage, Tyler did a stint in rehab foraddiction to pain killers and at one point became so estranged from hisbandmates that guitarist Joe Perry announced (via Twitter) that they were looking for a singer to replace him.
So it's understandable that the North American tour's first show got off to a tentative start. Versions of "Love In An Elevator," "Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)," and "Pink" were uninspired, and although Tyler looked the part -- covered in sequins, paint-on black & whiteleopard skin bell bottoms, aviator shades, and fedora hat at a tilt -- there wasn't much of his trademark strutting or prancing.
Agility aside, Tyler's voice sounded remarkably strong, stillhitting the big notes on power ballads like "Cryin'" and "What ItTakes." And even though Perry introduced the cover of Fleetwood Mac's"Stop Messin' Around" by saying, "I don't wanna sound like an old man...but put your helmet on," clearly referencing his recent motorcycle wreck, hesounded nothing of the sort as he belted out lead vocals and took aguitar solo behind his head.
Things really began to heat up with a moody version of "Janie's Got A Gun," followed by the sexy funk rock of "Last Child," and the loose blues jam of "Lord Of The Thighs," which featured Perry working a slide guitar solo and Tyler moaning over the top.
In fact, Perry often picked up any showmanship slack Tyler's restrained mobility might have created, darting across the stage to trade licks with guitarist Brad Whitford, whipping his guitar with his belt at the end of "Draw The Line," and utilizing both the Theremin and talk box before dropping into a Jimi Hendrix tease during a stretched out "Sweet Emotion."
"This is when you get to see how much weight I gained in South America" said a shirt-less, and still very thin, Tyler towards the end of the show. It was a reference to Aerosmith's previous leg of the current "Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock" tour and a reminder that this band still sells out stadiums around the world.
After the unstoppable triple encore of classic-rock gold "Dream On," "Walk This Way," and "Toys In The Attic," it seemed entirely possible they could continue to do so for another decade, assuming no one breaks a hip.
1. Rats In The Cellar
2. Monkey On My Back
3. Love In An Elevator
4. Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)
5. Eat The Rich
7. Livin' On The Edge
8. What It Takes
9. Janie's Got A Gun
10. Last Child
12. Drum Solo
13. Lord Of The Thighs
14. Stop Messin' Around
15. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
16. Sweet Emotion
17, Baby Please Don't Go
18. Draw The Line
19. Dream On
20. Walk This Way
21. Toys In The Attic