Has there ever been a rock band who were as popular and commercially viable for as long as Aerosmith? From their 1973 self-titled debut through their No. 1 1998 hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” the band were a juggernaut in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. By now, it’d be easy for them to coast on the strength of their hits in concert.
But “coasting” ain’t in their huge repertoire, as they showed at the premiere show of their “Let Rock Rule” tour last night (July 10) at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Long Island, N.Y. Over the course of a 18-song, two-hour show, they went deep with a set that eschewed several well-known songs (like “Last Child,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Pink,” any number of single-word-title ballads) for ’70s tracks like “Kings and Queens,” “No More No More” and “Chip Away the Stone,” which was never even on a proper album, instead appearing on the concert album Live Bootleg and later on the Gems collection.
They stretched out considerably on “Rats in the Cellar” (from 1976’s Rocks), jamming at the song’s end. They’re tight enough players that they could grow out their songs to Zeppelin-like lengths in concert if they chose to do so. “That’s what this band is all about!” Steven Tyler hollered after the song.
Another thing the band is about: Tyler’s ageless charisma. While the band jams on their instruments, he plays the audience with a skill unmatched by anyone in rock music. He gained a few extra cheers during “Livin’ on the Edge,” when he wandered to the VIP section and shared the mic with his daughter, Liv (standing with her Leftovers co-star Justin Theroux). But he rarely stayed still throughout the show, save for his piano playing during “Dream On.”