Before Steven Tyler takes a "desk job" at Fox's American Idol, he has some unfinished business fronting Aerosmith. And if Saturday night's show at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre was our last chance to see Tyler on stage for a while, at least he made the most of it.
Even though these hard rockers have been watering down their image with 20 years of Alicia Silverstone music videos and soundtrack work, an Aerosmith show is still an event. A crowd of 17,900 rarely used the seats during the band's two-hour set. Here are some of the highlights of the night.
STILL A VISION: Tyler took the stage in tight silver pants, a white shirt and more scarves that Stevie Nicks has in her entire closet. Opening tune Train Kept A-Rollin immediately had everyone singing along. Tyler's voice seemed as strong as ever. It's just nice to see him on two feet again after the rehab stint and injuries that have kept the band away from Florida in the last couple of years.
THE PINK ELEPHANT: Tyler's name is still at the top of Idol's wish list to be one of the TV show's new judges, if we're to believe the rumors in Hollywood. Tyler teased his bandmates about the possible change in careers halfway through the show, introducing guitarist Joe Perry as "the original American Idol." That had to sting a little, given that Perry lashed out at Tyler this week for keeping the news from the band. "I mean, after working with me for 40 years, he couldn't tell me about this?" the guitarist said to a Boston newspaper.
AN AGING CROWD: These days, there's almost no difference between a Jimmy Buffett audience and an Aerosmith one, strange as that might sound. Parents brought their kids, introducing a new generation to hits like Sweet Emotion, Cryin' and Love in an Elevator. Flip-flops outnumbered boots. Ankle tattoos subbed for more serious body ink. And the band's aging fan base cherished the obligatory drum solo as a chance to rest their legs for five minutes.
THE SHOW HEATS UP: Thirty minutes into the set, the humidity of the night finally seemed to catch up with Tyler. (Dude, it's been getting to us since about May.) He took a much-needed timeout during Perry's blues jam, where, hopefully, the roadies pumped Tyler full of about 10 Gatorades.
MISS A THING? Aerosmith's power-ballad I Don't Want Miss a Thing was definitely a guilty treat, more so given that footage of the movie Armageddon played on the video screens behind them.
MORE COWBELL: I truly believe at least a quarter of the crowd Saturday night paid admission just to yell "More cowbell!" at Blue Oyster Cult when the band launched into Don't Fear the Reaper. Who would have believed that a Saturday Night Live skit zinger would become the "Play Freebird! of today's rock generation? And trust me, there was plenty of cowbell.
THE FUTURE? So will Tyler take the Idol gig? Will Aerosmith go on hiatus?
I'm not sure anyone in the crowd really cared. For them on this night, it was just about the rock 'n' roll.