Last Night: Aerosmith & Cheap Trick at Toyota Center
It always happens. I go into an Aerosmith show full of hate and distrust of laser-lips Steven Tyler and the Aero Posse and end up half-enjoying myself despite all the reservations that the rest of the world pumps into my head.
It's like when you are friends with a dirtbag that everyone steers clear from and rips to shreds behind their back -- and you even join in on the odd occasion -- but when you hang out you do a few shots and go "This guy ain't so bad, but I'm still going to watch my wallet around him."
That's me with Aerosmith when "Rag Doll" and "Livin' On the Edge" get into a room together. Gammy Tyler makes some sort of sissy strut across his runway into the crowd and goes his "Old tin lizzy do it till you're dizzy" hive and I forget I hate them.
Shameful, yes. Cue the eye-rolling. If I tell you that the band and Tyler now work off teleprompters would that make you angrier? Ozzy does it, and so does David Lee Roth.
Of course 42 years into it, there are few surprises here, but there are worse ways to spend a Monday night. At least there was AC and running water at Toyota Center.
Openers Cheap Trick were louder than I had imagined them in my head. They are one of those bands who are not done justice by the half-dozen or so singles that get played on classic-rock radio.
They are in fact pretty raunchy and metallic, so I guess I wasn't paying attention to that copy of In Color lying around my house when I was younger. The Trickers run with the same lineup, save for touring drummer Daxx Nielsen now handling Bun E. Carlos' duties.
Yes, he's guitarist Rick Nielsen's son.
The twin opening attack of In Color's "Hello There" and "Big Eyes" showed off the band's thunderous capabilities. I may be off base (you'll let me all know) but Cheap Trick seems to have been a tad lost to the ages, even unsung.
The amount of hooks inside each of their songs, plus the sneer of Robin Zander, helped birth a lot of the hair-metal stuff in the '80s, if not the whole of pop-rock to come after. Plus, they were goofy. Zander's white leather "Dream Police" outfit was a big hit of the night, too.
I remember being young and seeing Cheap Trick album covers and being weirded out that stereotypically hot rock gods Zander and Tom Petersson would let Carlos and Nielsen hang out with them, even though Nielsen in actuality was a hot-shit player. Monday he must have thrown out about a thousand guitar picks into the rows up front. I have a pick somewhere at home from Nielsen and I had never seen them live until last night.
Did Cheap Trick best Aerosmith? Probably. OK, yes. But did Aerosmith give 'er a good try? Oh yeah.