Last Night: Aerosmith & Cheap Trick at Toyota Center

Aero July 31 2.JPG
Photos by Barry Sigman
Aerosmith, Cheap Trick
Toyota Center
July 30, 2012

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.

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Cheap Trick
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.

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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.

Location Info


Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
smax1168 1 Like

The review is bad and from a moron.   They must have been off that night.  I saw them in Dallas on Saturday (7/28) and they were awesome.  Maybe they like Dallas better than Houston (no offense Houston), they played 3 Encores - Mama Kin - 3rd song and after lights came on and confetti was everywhere.  Sorry Houston!  Plus they guy that does your reviews stinks.

jeff1264 1 Like

Dude, how could you have attended a thousand classic rock shows and never seen Cheap Trick? While 'Smith has been playing out there catfights & relapses on TV, Cheap Trick has been quietly working, never spending a year off the road or out of the studio. They're like the Dead of hard rock and they're ten times better live than Aerosmith, KISS and Van Halen put together. Zander sings like he's in his 20s, Nielson can still do it and Tom Peterson is only just the coolest guy in the business. Dax is a very innovative drummer while honoring Bun's original template. They're pretty near perfect goin' on 40 years into it. 


To your credit, you did give them inches in your review and an admission they were the better band. But go find and play that copy of "In Color" if you still have a turntable. It's the kill...

craig.hlavaty moderator editor

 @jeff1264 They blew me away, and I am glad to know that they still give a shit.


Saw the show in Minneapolis. Great insight on Cheap Trick. "The Flame" and "I Want You to Want Me" don't even begin to represent their depth, and there isn't a singer out there with a voice as powerful as Robin Zander's.


Craig Hlavaty,the next time Aerosmith comes to town do us all a favor and don't go.Your above article is laughable at best and completely disrespectful at worst.I was at the show on Monday,Aerosmith put on a flawless performance in front of a sold out crowd.Cheap Trick was good but to say they were better than Aerosmith is a sick joke.Learn to show some respect for one of the greatest bands of all time.

MagnificentBastard 1 Like

 @AERODETH lol. I thought only Metallica had the weirdo fans like this. I've seen Aerosmith and Cheap Trick more than any other band in my lifetime. The first time for Aerosmith was in 1988 actually. And Cheap Trick was in 1984 or 5. I can't remember exactly lol. I thought it was neat they were playing together. Aerosmith have been a consistent and fantastic band over that period up until the last few years. Their age remarkably has only caught up with them over the last few years. Cheap Trick shows no signs of wear. They are still underrated, underappreciated (obviously with the ridiculous statement above) and continue to be one of the best bands out there. Aerodeth is obviously a superfan so here's a thought. Next time Craig Hlavaty writes an article how about you do us all a favor and don't read it or remark on it so I don't have to point out what a dumb statement you made. He didn't even say anything bad, just that he liked Cheap Trick's set better. Just because Aerodeth has a mancrush on Aerosmith means he obviously isn't very objective.



 @MagnificentBastard First off,I have nothing but the utmost respect for Cheap Trick.They played a mostly killer set,and sounded damn good.Just because I found Craig's article to be disrespectful and off base does not make me as you say a weirdo fanboy.I do not engage in blindly worshipping any band.I've seen Cheap Trick numerous times and this was my tenth Aerosmith show.If you had seen Aerosmith on their current tour you would know that age has not caught up with any of the band members,at least musically.Aerosmith gave Houston a truly inspired performance.They literally blew the roof off Toyota Center.Out of Cheap Tricks 13 song set 3 or 4 songs nearly put the crowd to sleep.I heard quite a few people yelling for Cheap Trick to get off the stage and bring on Aerosmith.To be clear I was not one of those people,I mostly enjoyed their set.

craig.hlavaty moderator editor

 @AERODETH So we are only supposed to cover shows that we will write favorably about?


Absolutely not,I fully expect you and every other journalist to be completely objective.However,the first three paragraphs of your article tell me otherwise."I go into an Aerosmith show full of hate and distrust"Doesn't sound very objective to me."Gammy Tyler makes some sort of sissy strut across his runway into the crowd"Get off the bullshit Dude.


 @craig.hlavaty  @AERODETH 

"I am not in the business of respecting someone's stature as a rock band. That's not in my job description. I am not a PR guy, like you obviously are."


Holy shit, thank you. I started reading this guy's comments and my head got mushy.


Apparently he can't deal with someone possibly having negative ideas about Aerosmith. Which is funny, because it's been scientifically proven that Aerosmith is cheesy bullshit.

craig.hlavaty moderator editor

 @AERODETH I am not in the business of respecting someone's stature as a rock band. That's not in my job description. I am not a PR guy, like you obviously are. Live reviews are supposed to show -- warts and all, and yes even teleprompters -- what happened at the show. Aerosmith's past catalog and the weight of it doesn't matter because that has all been decidedly great. What matters is the live show, which Monday night was lacking fire and intensity, literally and figuratively.


 @craig.hlavaty Obviously I haven't been clear enough.Whether you hate or love Aerosmith is completely irrelevant as it pertains to this conversation.A band of Aerosmiths stature deserves your respect regardless of your personal feelings.Your review of the gig showed none whatsoever.Example,I'm not the biggest AC/DC fan in the world.While albums like High Voltage,Highway To Hell and Back In Black are all time great albums,I find the majority of their music catalog to be uncreative and too much of the same.Regardless of my feelings toward AC/DC they are unarguably one of rocks all time greatest bands and I respect them as such.Hope I've made myself clear.

craig.hlavaty moderator editor

 @AERODETH How is that bullshit? And if I disclose my misgivings about it FIRST, I am at least being honest. But the whole point of your comments has been that I didn't slavishly love Aerosmith. Check out my August 2010 review of the band at the Cynthia Woods Pavilion.

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