Having managed to successfully dodge seeing Aerosmith perform live in over two decades of gig-going, the opportunity presented itself to attend this so-called farewell tour stopover in Dublin (advertised as the cringe-worthy “Aero-Vederci Baby” tour). Better late than never, so the adage goes, and yet to be verified. Others, it would seem, are less hesitant to see their first Irish date in ten years, with the show sold out well in advance.
Security is tighter than normal at the 3Arena thanks to the recent terror attacks in the UK, but most seem understanding of the extra pat-downs and bag searches. Inside, several generations of fans are waiting patiently for the ageing rockers to arrive. Once the house lights dim, the giant screen cycles through a barrage of old Aerosmith album covers and promo shots accompanied by the familiar classical piece ‘O Fortuna’ composed by Carl Orff, creating an epic vibe and sense of an impending spectacle.
And “spectacle” is an appropriate word to describe the sight of Steven Tyler swaggering into the midst of the audience along an extended platform, dressed in shiny gold trousers and cape, to be greeted and kissed by an unidentified giddy girl as they break into opening track ‘Let the Music do the Talking’. Surprisingly, the crowd do not seem particularly excited by their arrival, nor intent on dancing or even moving, at least until Tyler encourages them to clap along. ‘Young Lust’ equally fails to elicit an enthusiastic response from the lethargic crowd, but ‘Cryin” finally seems to prompt some engagement.
Maybe it’s a reflection of the age bracket of the fans (and band themselves), but they remain generally sedate throughout the show, save for a few obvious crowd pleasers: ‘Love in an Elevator’ (which features Tyler writhing around on his back in a manner nobody really wanted or needed to see), Armageddon hit ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’, and the anthemic ‘Walk This Way’ are notable exceptions. And a slew of cover songs from artists including Fleetwood Mac, James Brown and The Beatles also prompt a good reaction.
Despite the poor audience engagement, the bad boys from Boston actually put on an entertaining show, and are holding up well for their age. The stage and light set-up ensure that almost everyone has a good view, if not from the VIP section at the side of the stage, or from the sides of the elongated vanity ramp, then from the massive high resolution screens showing live video feed close-ups. And the sound quality, musicianship and vocal performance can hardly be faulted (although there were a few moments where lip-syncing can’t be ruled out). Joe Perry, in particular proves he still has what it takes to play (and sing, during ‘Stop Messin’ Around’).
With the finale of ‘Walk This Way’, complete with confetti and CO2 cannons, followed by a heartfelt thanks from Tyler and band introductions, the fans leave the venue on a high note, probably knowing full well that this will be the last time they see Aerosmith in Dublin.