Aerosmith’s ‘Train Kept A-Rollin”

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Aug. 1

Photo by Erik Kabik /

Photo by Erik Kabik /

Rock bands that are well into their fourth decade of touring always fall into one of two categories: They’re either finely tuned machines that gin up nostalgia among adoring fans, or they’re simply nostalgic acts that, with each botched note, leave fans wincing more than cheering. Unfortunately, thanks to Father Time, the scales of rock ’n’ roll justice tip heavily toward the latter. Fortunately, Aerosmith is still doing its part to hold down the right end of the scale.

From the first lick of show opener “Train Kept A-Rollin’” to the last note of encore closer “Sweet Emotion,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers had a packed house on its feet (no small accomplishment, considering most of the crowd was AARP-eligible). For nearly two hours, frontman Steven Tyler displayed the energy and pipes of a man half his 67 years; guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford played like they were in their prime; bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer held down the bottom line like it was 1979; and keyboardist Russ Irwin (the unofficial sixth member) expertly assisted Tyler on backing vocals.

One of the benefits of age, of course, is wisdom, and the boys from Boston displayed their smarts by crafting a setlist that appealed to every segment of the fan base. There were vintage cuts for hard-core fans (the aforementioned “Train,” plus Beatles cover “Come Together,” “Toys in the Attic” and super-deep-cut “One Way Street” off the band’s self-titled debut album); more contemporary hits (“Love in an Elevator,” “Cryin’” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady”); and all-time classics (“Sweet Emotion,” “Dream On,” and “Walk This Way”). There was also an unexpected bonus of Perry taking the lead on the bluesy Fleetwood Mac cover “Stop Messin’ Around.”

If there was one complaint—other than Tyler’s mic being turned up too loud at times—it was that the 16-song set could’ve been longer (and could’ve done without the female knee-buckling ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”). Then again, none of the five members is south of 63, making a short set list forgivable. Moreover, having been around as long as they have, Aerosmith knows a thing or two about expert showmanship: Always leave ’em wanting more. And on this night, they most certainly did … ★★★★✩

Photos by Erik Kabik /


Train Kept A-Rollin’
Love in a an Elevator
Last Child
Livin’ on the Edge
Toys in the Attic
Rag Doll
Stop Messin’ Around (Fleetwood Mac cover)
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
One Way Street
Come Together (Beatles cover)
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Walk This Way
Dream On
Sweet Emotion

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