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Review: Aerosmith still evokes ‘Sweet Emotion’ with Columbus concert

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Steven Tyler emerged from under the lit, extended catwalk on the Nationwide Arena stage donning a long white and silver coat, a top hat, sunglasses and cheetah-print tennis shoes, gripping his signature scarf-embellished microphone stand. And so began the nearly two-hour dance party that was Aerosmith’s live show.

Taking the stage Sunday shortly after 9 p.m. to “Mama Kin,” Aerosmith leaped into its vibrant set, appearing as though the band had resolved any rumored drama or near-breakup and verifying that the longtime rockstars claim the stage just as well as they did 40 years ago.

“How ’bout them Buckeyes,” Tyler screamed two songs into the set.

The band’s performance included hits such as “Jaded,” “Livin’ On The Edge,” “Rag Doll” and “Walk This Way,” as well as a couple of songs from the band’s recent album, “Music From Another Dimension!” released Nov. 6, including “Oh Yeah” and “Lover Alot.”

The sound radiating from the band Sunday night couldn’t have been any more precise. It was as though I was listening to the band’s studio records at maximum volume. The stage was stunning, stocked with long catwalks for Tyler’s dance moves that took him from one end to the other, and a massive screen broadcasting the show’s live footage.

Remarkable highlights shined through on “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

Each member received his own time in the spotlight, such as guitarist Joe Perry, whose solos displayed his “Billie” guitar, which shows a picture of his wife’s face. But the most memorable moment came from drummer Joey Kramer’s instrumentals on his movable platformed drum set, which included Tyler accompanying him to help with beats on the toms and ended with Kramer throwing his drum sticks to the crowd, finishing his solo with his hands.

Nonetheless, it’s evident that Tyler is still the band’s primary strength, stemming from charisma that hasn’t changed since Aerosmith’s formation in 1970. He still packs the vocal ability fans expect, dresses as though he’s still in his prime years and prances around the stage, interacting with audience members along the sides of the stage by leaning over railings to touch hands and throwing his own scarfs and even wrist watches to fans. At one point Tyler grabbed a man’s iPhone to record himself singing.

Aerosmith concluded the evening with an encore of “Dream On,” in which Tyler appeared onstage with a staircase-adorned piano that Perry stood on wearing an Ohio State T-shirt. A second encore of “Sweet Emotion” followed the song.

By the end of the night, Perry was shirtless, Tyler and the crowd were overwhelmed with perspiration and the arena was covered in confetti.

“I’m surprised you guys came out tonight after all the hangovers from last night. Congratulations on the win,” Perry said before finally leaving the stage, referring to the Buckeyes’ 26-21 win against Michigan Saturday.

Cheap Trick opened the show, taking the stage around 7:30 p.m. with a less-than-impressive, one-hour set comprised of songs such as “I Want You To Want Me,” “The Flame” and “Baby Loves To Rock.” However, the most noteworthy moments came when guitarist Rick Nielsen yielded his five-neck guitar for “Surrender” and the cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame.” But not even those songs, or lead singer Robin Zander’s bright-lighted coat, could liven the band’s show.

After Sunday night’s show I think most in attendance could agree Aerosmith still embraces the grittiness and sex appeal it did decades ago. But ultimately, if I learned anything at all, it’s that behind the “American Idol” judging table is the last place Tyler’s hip shaking and pelvic thrusting belongs. The stage certainly missed him.

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