In Aerosmith’s new tour coming to the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler ascend in a cloud of smoke from underneath the end of a long catwalk – a quintessential rock entrance tailored for a sold-out arena crowd of longtime fans. Tyler, his trademark scarves-draped microphone stand at his black nail-polished fingertips, launches into 1977’s “Draw the Line.”
Rock ‘n’ roll familiarity never fails to send an energizing electric rush through a receptive audience.
It’s been two years since Tyler and company toured, largely because of Tyler’s now-finished stint on TV’s “American Idol.” It’s also been eight years since the iconic rock band released a new studio album. “Music From Another Dimension!” will arrive in early November, and Aerosmith is performing a couple of catchy, rhythmic numbers from the project – “Oh Yeah” and “Legendary Child.”
But the “Global Warming Tour” – being opened in rousing fashion by like-minded rockers Cheap Trick – is all about the staples. The group is dipping into material from albums released in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. They are even dusting off their cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which they recorded for 1978’s soundtrack to the film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Tyler, Perry, drummer Joey Kramer, bassist Tom Hamilton and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford are all in fine form. Tyler prances around in his usual glam-fortified fashion as if he still owns the stage. Perry gives audiences a memorable guitar solo standing by an amp dressed with an American flag. Kramer’s drum solos are muscular, no-frills triumphs.
Assisted by female background vocalists as well as keyboardist Russ Irwin and percussionist Jesse Sky Kramer (Joey’s son), the Aerosmith guys seamlessly float between the earlier sound and the more commercially punchy style. “Same Old Song and Dance,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way” and “Dream On” blend with “Love In an Elevator,” “Livin’ On the Edge,” “Pink” and “Rag Doll.”
Aerosmith always managed to reinvent itself for the masses without losing its inherent musicality. Power ballads notwithstanding, especially “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” the Boston-formed band stayed true to its creative forces. That’s why 42 years after its inception, Aerosmith still sells out arenas.
Cheap Trick, the lads from Illinois, opens with an hourlong rock set that features great performances from lead singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Daxx Nielsen, Rick’s son, filling in for original drummer Bun E. Carlos.
They play the key hits – “Surrender,” “Dream Police,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “She’s Tight” and “The Flame” – with vigor and precision. Zander hit the high notes during “The Flame,” and Nielsen amazes with his five-neck guitar. Plus, a cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” with Aerosmith’s Whitford along for the ride is a definite jam in an already musically vigorous show.
Aerosmith, Cheap Trick
What: The Global Warming Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Tacoma Dome
Tickets: $48–$144 (plenty are left)
Info: ticketmaster.com, 866-448-7849