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Concert Reviews:
Aerosmith Brings The Heat At DTE Closer

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2006

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- The damp chill had the sold-out crowd breathing steam during Wednesday night's season-closing show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

Fortunately, Aerosmith breathed fire.

The Boston band's 13-song, 80-minute set was a hard rocking powerhouse that blew away both the audience and opening act Motley Crue, whose listless, pandering performance -- particularly hampered by singer Vince Neil's MIA voice -- was redeemed only by flashy pyrotechnics and special effects. Instead it was Aerosmith, whose lineup has a good eight to 10 years each on the Crue members, that ruled the night and gave a textbook display of how to rock convincingly even if you're eligible for an AARP card.

The current Route Of All Evil Tour is an odd one for Aerosmith. There's no new music save for two fresh songs, including the title track, on "Devil's Got a New Disguise," a best-of that hits stores Tuesday. Bassist Tom Hamilton has been sidelined while he recovers from treatments for throat cancer, and frontman Steven Tyler is on his first road trek since having throat surgery earlier this year.

Perhaps all of that, particularly the health concerns, infused the group with an extra bit of abandon on Wednesday, a realization of mortality that translated into a more passionate and potent attack. It's not like Aerosmith hasn't delivered a good concert or two; in fact, the group gave one just 10 months ago at the Palace of Auburn Hills. But something was clearly afoot at DTE that brought Wednesday's show up just another notch.

Coming on after a film featuring vintage images was show on the stage curtain, Aerosmith charged into "Toys in the Attack," with Tyler -- hitting the high notes all note -- and guitarist Joe Perry singing into the same microphone on a riser at the rear of the stage. Staircases and ramps -- including one that jutted about 18 rows into the center of the pavilion -- gave the group plenty of room to roam, and a massive video screen behind the band featured both close-ups and prepared material.

Aerosmith offered ups plenty of favorites during the show, including hits such as "Cryin'," "Dream On," "Sweet Emotion" and the show-closing "Walk This Way," as well as album tracks like "Mama Kin," "Eat the Rich," "Seasons of Wither" and an extended "Draw the Line," with Perry paying homage to Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page both visually and musically, employing a theramin towards the end of the song. But many of the best moments came during the covers -- a fierce rendering of Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go," during which a harmonica-player Tyler sang a bit of "Frosty the Snowman" to comment on the weather, and two old Fleetwood Mac songs, "Stop Messin' Around" (sung by Perry and dedicated to Hamilton) and a lengthy workout on "Rattlesnake Shake" that was so loose it ground to a sloppy but spirited conclusion.

Tyler, who donned a Detroit Tigers jersey for the encore, told the shivering DTE crowd at one point that "we've got to stop meeting like this," but his was a minority opinion. Anyone who was there more than likely walked away with an appetite for more Aerosmith -- and as soon as possible.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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