Life, liberty, and the longevity of Aerosmith
What makes a badass rock-and-roll band? Maybe it’s high energy and impromptu guitar solos and an expert showman who can lead the crowd through a multi-hour jam session. Maybe it’s durability to withstand the fleeting trends of the musical world and longevity to keep playing hard through all the shifts in what's "popular." Maybe it has something to do with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s origin story of the phrase “rock and roll,” which emerged as code for sex. Bottle up that energy, showmanship, longevity, and free-spirited sexuality and sure enough, you have one of the greatest and most badass rock bands of all-time: Aerosmith.
Aerosmith played their third and final Deuces Are Wild show at MGM National Harbor on Tuesday and gifted the intimate theater with a blowout of a performance that included smoke, lasers, balloons, confetti, sacrificial bras, Steven Tyler gyrating against the stage’s railing, and a dive into the band’s iconic catalogue.
Thirty minutes prior to showtime, a countdown clock ticked away and a video montage started playing, recapping the rich histories of the band and its five members. No opener led the way – openers aren’t needed when you have nearly 50 years of success under your belt. Once the clock struck 0, Aerosmith took the stage with “The Train Kept A-Rollin’,” a Tiny Bradshaw cover, and the spectacle began.
Live, Aerosmith are impassioned and even maniacal without compromise, feeding off the crowd while simultaneously providing such entertainment that they have the crowd wrapped around their finger come song two or three. By “Rag Doll,” Tuesday’s third song of the set, The Theater at MGM National Harbor’s fervor was fully unleashed, which only upped the band’s relentless energy.
“We love getting up on stage, we love rocking out, and we love being in front of an audience,” Tyler told the sell-out crowd.
The lead singer’s actions backed up his words, as he proved he’s still the ultimate showman, even at 71. Tyler sprinted around to jam in the face of every single band member, let out a massive belch into the mic, and squirted then threw his water bottle into the crowd. He ran through the floor seats, told the audience they weren’t drunk enough, and used his legendary vocal range and power as the driving engines behind crowd-favorites like “Livin’ on the Edge” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” which triggered at least one bra thrown on stage.
Tyler’s larger-than-life demeanor gave the set sporadic explosions, but Joe Perry’s brilliance on guitar gave the set its steady burn. Perry used his guitar to essentially kick the audience’s ass in the best way possible, proving that no, his ability to shred has not diminished with time nor age. While the hits ignited the crowd, the night's best moment may have been Perry and Tyler taking seats on the stage’s catwalk to duel guitar and harmonica riffs before diving into “Hangman Jury.”
The band capped the night with “Dream On” and “Walk This Way,” and another moment of reflection reminiscent of the mini-documentary that preceded the show. Returning to stage for the two encore songs, Tyler recounted a moment from his teenage years when someone told him, “You want to be in a road band? Dream on, bitch!” Tyler then climbed on top of his piano to crush the 1973 hit, showing that his road band dreams are still alive and well, bitch.
Life, liberty, and the longevity of Aerosmith: three guarantees in this crazy world. How else can you explain a band that has been smashing sets since 1970, a band that boasts 18 platinum albums and 12 multi-platinum albums, a band that has won four GRAMMYs and received 14 nominations, a band that is getting ready to play its way into its 50th anniversary year? It’s a special rarity to see members of rock-and-roll history still living their dream, and the best part is there are no signs of Aerosmith’s slowing down.
Reviewed by Kayla Wilkinson, photos by Zack Whitford
The Train Kept A-Rollin' (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
Eat the Rich
Seasons of Wither
Stop Messin' Around (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Livin' on the Edge
Same Old Song and Dance
What It Takes
Love in an Elevator
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Toys in the Attic
Walk This Way