Aerosmith at the Pepsi Center, with Cheap Trick, 8/1/12
Eric Gruneisen Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith last night at the Pepsi Center. Slide show: Aerosmith brings its mojo to Denver.
AEROSMITH @ PEPSI CENTER
From the beginning, they promised a spectacle. "We're gonna go all Aerosmith mojo on your ass tonight," lead screecher Steven Tyler promised vaguely but aggressively less than a minute after appearing center stage in a cloud of smoke. And later: "I feel like Wild Bill Hickok over here with this shit." Outfitted like a gay pirate with a strut like a zoo peacock, Tyler made good on his promise across an occasionally disjointed, frequently bloated show of living legendary proportions.
Eric Gruneisen Steven Tyler of Aerosmith last night at the Pepsi Center. Slide show: Aerosmith brings its mojo to Denver.
If that last part -- the presence of real live Rock and Roll Hall of Famers -- wasn't clear to the Pepsi Center's packed-in legions of merch purchasers and moms, the band's hypnotic, robotic intro let us in on the secret early on. "You are about to enter a great invention," a very Kraftwerkian voice announced, "an experience of awe and mystery...from which you may never return." Cue: Joe Perry and Steve Tyler shooting from the stage, bedazzled and unbuttoned, as if expelled from some invisible whale's blowhole.
Slide show: Aerosmith brings its mojo to Denver
Brandishing his ribbon-laced mike stand like a samurai sword, Tyler checked in with the crowd ("Was that good enough for yo ass?") before showing off both his abs and a vocal range as impressive as Mariah Carey's. (VH1 reality show pitch: Diva Duels.) Throughout early hits including "Love in an Elevator" and "Livin' on the Edge," Tyler whirled like a spin cycle across the stage and its center island while howling, at full volume with full technical skill, the songs on which his band built its career. Laugh at his American Idol stint, call him a has-been, judge his book on whatever cover you want -- but then listen to that voice. Are we done now?
Behind him -- and occasionally, to force awe and wonder in the audience, beside him -- Joe Perry shredded his guitar like the lining of a birdcage while stomping on the band's own logo projected on the floor below him. During Aerosmith's two-hour show, the guys indulged both the crowd and themselves, performing into the camera as much as out of it and allowing each member an extensive solo.
Eric Gruneisen Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton last night at the Pepsi Center. Slide show: Aerosmith brings its mojo to Denver.