The search for a provocative and satisfying blog post title can be an arduous one. Sometimes, though, it just comes to you in the form of the most obvious statement that has ever been uttered.
Last night I went to my first Aerosmith concert. Qualifying it as "my first" Aerosmith concert is probably unnecessary, as my love of Aerosmith knows many bounds--namely anything outside of "Back in the Saddle", "Kings and Queens", and (cliche alert!) "Dream On".
But Aerosmith are one of those bands that people always say "Yeah, I don't really love them either, but they're great live." So, why not go see them, right? Well, the answer is threefold: 1) they're old, 2) Brad Whitford is practically an inanimate object, 3) they're old.
To be clear: a band can be old and still rock (Sammy Hagar is only seven months younger than Steven Tyler, and the Wabos are still killin' it). What they can't do is be the same band they were when the members were in their 20's from a visual standpoint. Aerosmith are still trying to show off their flowing locks with unbuttoned silk shirts and enough rings on their fingers to make Phil Jackson jealous. Sammy Hagar shows up to gigs in sweatpants.
All would be forgiven if Aerosmith brought down the house musically. But they just don't. Steven Tyler still has pipes. Pretty mad pipes, really. But I didn't go to the show to see fantastic karaoke. I went to see a killer band--and nothing Aerosmith did was exeptionally killer. Frankly, a lot of it was rock and roll cliche that was pretty unbecoming of a band who doesn't need to prove themselves to anyone. I was going to scream if I saw Joe Perry join Steven Tyler on the mic one more time and then hold his in-ear monitor in place like he was really trying to nail that harmony while dealing with faulty equipment. For Christ's sake, we can make contact lenses that bring us one step closer to becoming cyborgs, but we can't make an earbud that fits in Joe Perry's ear? I call shenanigans. (It should be noted here that the sound engineer for the Riverbend was awful. It was apparent from note one of Aerosmith's opening tune that he had no idea what was going on, as Joe Perry's opening riff to "Back in the Saddle" was drowned by what can only be described as "ambience" from Brad Whitford's guitar. This continued all night as almost every solo Perry tried to play was nearly inaudible.)
The night's low point? Well, I'll just let you refer to the title of this post. Hearing this Perry-penned-POS confirms at least two things: 1) Joe Perry should never write lyrics and 2) Joe Perry cannot sing. Like, not a lick. Look up the lyrics to this song, imagine that they were written by someone in their late 50's rather than a middle-schooler, and then imagine your grandpa singing it live. Unless your grandpa is Tom Jones, it will suck.
I realize this sounds like I'm coming down really hard. The show was, all-in-all, entertaining. I don't regret going. I'm glad I've seen Aerosmith now. But that's really just because now I can say that I've done it. I would have preferred this show to have been so strong that I could agree with everyone who has sung their praises to me before. But they were, unfortunately, just okay. Which is still better than "Freedom Fighter".