The Bad Boys of Boston have themselves a new house in Las Vegas! The beautiful Park Theater, also houses residencies for superstars Lady Gaga, Cher and Bruno Mars! The Park seats 5,200 which makes for a great intimate show, not a bad seat in the house venue.
A state-of-the-art sound and light system that enhances the concert experience. The location of Las Vegas brings an audience that is a mixed bag of tourists, locals and Aerosmith’s fan base, The Blue Army.
Being the 4th of July holiday week, many of the Blue Army were in attendance. People had come from St. Louis, California and Florida for a dose of Aero. Everyone in anticipation for what they are about to witness. Opening the show is a 30-minute digital movie about the history of the band as a time clock on the screen counts down to the start of the show. A cast of characters from Aerosmith albums parade around the stage, one of which is the female robot from the famous “Just Push Play” album cover. Time is up on the clock and the band emerges center stage to thunderous applause! Opening with the Tiny Bradshaw cover which has become an Aero anthem “Train Kept A-Rollin’. The stage has a standing area for fans on each side who want to pony up $500 for the up-close experience. There is a standing pit at the end of the stage to which Tyler often engages the crowd in microphone antics. Each band member is showcased, bassist Tom Hamilton with one of the most iconic ever baselines in rock music with “Sweet Emotion” had the balcony on their feet! Those Toxic Twins, Perry and Tyler take to chairs for the bluesy “Hangman Jury” with Tyler on harmonica and Perry playing slide.
One of the highlights is 1989’s ballad “What It Takes” from the Pump album. Steven sings the wrong lyrics, stops to say he screwed up and will make it right and he does some demon screaming that has the audience screaming back! A great tune and a great job by the entire band! There were several missteps in the show, Steven’s mic had issues for a minute, Joe seemed perplexed and said there were mistakes, this just made the show more interesting. This band has been working for almost 50 years and that stuff just makes for a great rock show! Drummer Joey Kramer bangs the skins all night with a solo that had its own light show just for his drum kit! You can get Joey’s popular Rockin’ & Roastin’ Organic coffee at the merch stand along with Aero t-shirts.
Guitarist Brad Whitford is such an underrated guitar player! His solo work on “Last Child” is superb. Playing in a band of huge personalities is not an easy task and Whitford seems to do it effortlessly. 1993’s “Living on the Edge” from the hit album “Pump” is even more relevant than it was 26 years ago! Next came an Aero early hit from 1974, which was only the 2nd time being played for the Vegas show, “Same old Song & Dance”, and it kicked ass! This was the Aerosmith this writer rocked to in my teen years and it sounded as great as when I first saw them in 1976. “Toys in the Attic” literally has giant toys coming down from the ceiling and dancing around during the tune. This ends the set with the band leaving the stage. Returning for the encore, Tyler takes his place at the piano. He pays homage to the Beatles with a snip of “Golden Slumbers” which he says he needed to get off his chest. No doubt, since he recently joined Paul McCartney on stage at Macca’s Vegas show. “Dream On” has a string orchestra on a riser center stage! Another great Aero jam “Chip Away the Stone” rocks the encore. Closing out the night is “Walk this Way” which brings Tyler and Perry walking up into a bucket to the fans in the balcony!
This writer has seen many Aerosmith shows over the years since that show in 1976, in arenas and at festivals, including last year’s New Orleans Jazzfest! The Las Vegas show is one of the best shows I have seen! The great venue, the fun of Vegas and the enthusiasm of the audience are all part of it, but it’s really the great music, America’s greatest rock band, Aerosmith!
Now open to the public in Vegas is the Aerosmith Vault. Initially only open for VIP ticket holders, they opened it for more fans to enjoy! A great collection of Aerosmith history, many of the artifacts came directly from the band and are occasionally used onstage. Joe Perry pulled a guitar from his ax display and played it. Joe’s guitar collection includes one of only two self-tuning guitars, the other one owned by Jimmy Page. Steven has a display of mic stands complete with his famous scarves. Brad Whitford has a guitar made with material from The Barn in Sunapee, NH. Many awards, classic tour posters including one from a 70’s show with Aero and local Florida resident, guitarist Rick Derringer. Saw the Aerosmith pinball machine which is owned by Joe Perry and recently played by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, as the photo went viral. A fun, informative tour, our guide Christine Rogers was charming and knowledgeable. This is a don’t miss opportunity for Aerosmith fans! The tour runs from noon to 3pm on show days. You can purchase online or when they open if space is available. Cost is $49. Rock On Blue Army!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post