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Concert Reviews:
Aerosmith gets back in the saddle at the Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

AUBURN HILLS -- The rumors of Aerosmith's demise have apparently been greatly exaggerated.

After a year of inner-band turmoil -- injuries, in-patient rehab, infighting, "Idol" rumors -- the veteran Boston quintet rolled into town Tuesday night (Aug. 31) at the Palace and showed that it still has its wings. And then some.

Over the course of 18 songs and an hour and 50 minutes, Aerosmith proved itself healthy and as hard-rocking as ever. Frontman Steven Tyler, most recently tipped as a judge for "American Idol's" 2011 season, was fully present and seemingly recovered from the health concerns that burdened him in 2009, and his bandmates were similarly fit and fiery as they worked their way through a career-spanning set that, while short on any particularly deep cuts, reminded the non-sellout Palace crowd that, when in shape, Aerosmith stakes a potent claim at the top of the rock 'n' roll pantheon.

Declaring at one point that "Nothing has changed!," Tyler seemed particularly anxious to make amends for the stage fall a year ago in South Dakota and the subsequent concerns that forced the cancellation of the rest of Aerosmith's tour and, briefly, had guitarist Joe Perry and the rest of the band threatening to find a replacement singer. Sporting a glittery sliver coat, a floppy hat and shades, Tyler was swirling and dancing from the opening number, "Eat the Rich," covering more ground than an NFL starting wide receiver. He was in good voice, too, even sliding into higher registers convincingly on "Cryin' " and "Dream On."

Tyler also went out of his way to put rift rumors aside, jumping on Joey Kramer's riser to add a couple of extra sticks during his drum solo and draping his arm over Perry -- who referred to Detroit as Aerosmith's "home away from home" -- while they sang into the same microphone. The potential for the "Idol" gig to again harpoon Aerosmith's progress certainly looms, but on Tuesday all was well during the time the group spent on stage.

And though the odd favorite might have been missing, fans would have a hard time finding a more pleasing batch of A-list material, whether it was early favorites such as Tiny Bradshaw's "Train Kept A-Rollin'," "Last Child" (which showcased guitarist Brad Whitford), "No More, No More" and the always reliable "Walk This Way" or 80s and 90s comeback hits like "Love in an Elevator," "Livin' on the Edge," a particularly emotive "What It Takes" and the "Armageddon" soundtrack smash "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," which was accompanied by video footage from the movie, which co-starred Tyler's daughter Liv. Aerosmith also scored with its granite take on the Beatles' "Come Together," the musical highlight of the misbegotten 1978 film adaptation of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Sammy Hagar, meanwhile, got the party spirit going early on Tuesday with an opening set that also spanned the decades. Attired all in red, naturally, Hagar and his Wabos -- though showing a bit of wear 'n' tear from what he said was a long night of partying on Monday -- rocked through his own anthems ("There's Only One Way to Rock," "I Can't Drive 55," "Three Lock Box," "Mas Tequila") and material he wrote for Van Halen, including "Top of the World," "Best of Both Worlds," "Right Now" and "Why Can't This Be Love."

The emotional high point, however, was a three-song Montrose medley -- "Space Station #5," "Rock Candy," "Bad Motor Scooter" -- that Hagar introduced with the story of first meeting Aerosmith at a Cobo Arena gig. It was a highly personal and localized touch on a night that felt like a rock 'n' roll family reunion.



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