Aerosmith | Calling Festival | 28 June 2014
On the list of rock show clichés, playing guitar on top of a grand piano comes just below drum solos. But when Joe Perry does just that during the original power ballad, ‘Dream On’, there’s no collective eye-roll from the punters. Instead, it’s all cheers and raised lighters.
Aerosmith clearly know what their audiences want – and subtlety is not it. Tonight’s all about classic hits, confetti cannons, a blinding light show, and the rockstar grandstanding the band helped originate in the ‘70s. In his black top hat and leopard-print coat, Steven Tyler struts up and down the runway like a man half his age, twirls his scarf-adorned mic stand above his head, declares his love for London, and plasters that famous mouth all over the big screens. Perry, rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, and bassist Tom Hamilton strike various poses perfected over 40 years on the road. And the big songs just keep on coming.
A rough-and-tumble ‘Mama Kin’ is followed, in quick succession, by an aggressive ‘Eat The Rich’, bombastic ‘Love In An Elevator’, and instant-classic new song ‘Oh Yeah’. ‘Cryin’’ brings out the lighters for the first time before Bon Jovi’s estranged guitarist Richie Sambora is roped into singing on a soaring ‘Livin’ On The Edge’.
The badass boogie ‘Last Child’, honky tonk blues of ‘Same Old Song and Dance’ and high-octane ‘Rats In The Cellar’ provide a vivid, sweaty reminder of the band’s breakthrough years, until a surprisingly sugarfree rendition of ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ prompts the Clapham Common masses to join in on backing vocals.
A swampy makeover of the Beatles’ ‘Come Together’, playful ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’, and funked-up ‘Walk This Way’ close off the main set before ‘Dream On’ (with that guitar solo) and an extended jam through ‘Sweet Emotion’ end the final show of Aerosmith’s world tour with a bang, not a whimper.