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Aerosmith and Cheap Trick at Target Center, 6/16/12

Aerosmith
With Cheap Trick
Target Center, Minneapolis
Saturday, June 16, 2012

View a slideshow here.

It was fitting that Aerosmith and opener Cheap Trick would spark off their Global Warming tour in Minneapolis. Considering the two bands jammed together across the street in 1998 at First Avenue -- for a Cheap Trick gig -- you could suggest the die had been cast for the two to pair up for what would be an incredible and historic double bill of unambiguous rock 'n' roll at the sold out Target Center.

Cheap Trick wasted no time with their explosive, short but sweet power-pop. With a sound montage intro that included a Japanese Cheap Trick commercial, name drops from Homer Simpson, Apu's rendition of "Dream Police" and a snippet of their own version of Big Star's "In the Street" from That 70's Show the "Best Fucking Rock Band You've Ever Seen" charged the stage with their own theme song of sorts, "Hello There" from 1977's In Color.

Never holding back, Rick Nielson and his guitar acrobatics perfectly complimented singer Robin Zander, who was dressed in leather pants and a sequined jacket and police hat that sparkled from the stage. Knocking out hit after hit, Cheap Trick -- with the original three members of the band that included Tom Peterson on bass and Nielson's son, touring drummer Daxx -- managed to sample a hearty selection of the band's 40-year catalog.

With a relentless charge through "California Man" by the Move and Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" the band didn't shy away from newer material as well with 2009's "Sick Man of Europe" which very much continued to wow the crowd.

Ultimately peaking with "Surrender" and 80's roller rink staple, "The Flame" that brought more than a few lighters up in the air the audience stayed on their feet singing along with the sure-fire "I Want You to Want Me" and "Dream Police." Consistently swapping guitars through the night Nielson saved his patented five-neck guitar to round it off with their own outro "Goodnight" for a fully satisfying set from the legendary rockers.


While there was much to doubt about Aerosmith and their longevity the last few years with rumored infighting and Steven Tyler's latest gig as a judge on American Idol somewhat over shadowing his interest in the band any skepticism was swept aside with a furious roar as the band ravished the stage.

Popping up from the cat walk with guitarist Joe Perry at his side Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith worked the crowd like seasoned pros for a full 90 minutes plus to the 14,000 screaming fans.

Ripping right into 1977's "Draw the Line", "Love in a Elevator" and for the first time live a new song, "Oh Yeah" Aerosmith defied all odds and sounded not only fresh but truly at the top of their game.

 

Joe Perry, 61 played his incredible sounding glass guitar like a fiddle providing the essential counterpart to his "toxic twin" brother, Tyler as he suggestively moved, grooved and howled like the 64 years young, dirty old man that we all love.

Aerosmith and Cheap Trick at Target Center, 6/16/12
Photo by Tony Nelson

Dipping into everything from Aerosmith's shmaltzy '90s ballads right through to their signature anthems Tyler's trademark screech rode atop the solid grooves of "Last Child" that the band mashed up a little with Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" giving room for rhythm man Brad Whitford to unload some of his own amazing style.

Reminiscing the solid sound of the band's definitive album, 1975's Toys in the Attic, Tyler said "Every time I put that record on it sounds like it was yesterday." Later, Tom Hamilton in silver shoes hammered out the opening lines to a smoking "Sweet Emotion" that eventually slid into the unmistakable drum break from Joey Kramer and "Walk this Way."

Aerosmith and Cheap Trick at Target Center, 6/16/12
Photo by Tony Nelson

Rubbing his abs and taunting the ladies in the crowd with his many scarves and big lips Tyler never held back, "I fucking love you! Minneapolis, what a place to do this." As he gave praise to the city the band made their home for a few days gearing up for the tour. "You've reminded us why we got in the business."

After a short break to let the audience catch their breath Tyler rose up from the cat walk once again at a white piano that after a good humored false start for "Dream On" brought everything to a meditative and classy climax with every voice in the crowd rising and Perry joining Tyler atop the piano for the final choruses. It was only after a stomping "Train Kept A-Rolling" that the band wrapped things up even lingering a bit continuing to thank and give props to the crowd before finally exiting the stage.


In the eye of countless adversity, Aerosmith appear to have resuscitated their 40-year career once again. They continue to beat all odds as they're not getting any younger. Having fallen off the rails personally several times through the years we couldn't have been lucky enough to had been there to see them back and all in one piece. Those present witnessed Aerosmith on some truly next level shit.

Critic's Bias: Not a huge fan of all the Diana Warren stuff but played live Aerosmith know how to give it all an edge.

The Crowd: A tad different than the crowd I was with at Rock the Garden earlier that day. Much more of a Coors Light kind of scene.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Just in case you forgot what a rock band was, that was the best."

Random Notebook Dump: Though it was a little distracting it was pretty awesome that photographer Ross Halfin was on stage the whole night snapping pics.

Setlist:

Cheap Trick
Hello There
California Man
Ain't That a Shame
Never Had a Lot to Lose
Sick Man of Europe
Baby Love to Rock
Need Your Love
I Know What I Want
Surrender
The Flame
I Want You to Want Me
Dream Police
Goodnight

Aerosmith
Draw the Line
Love in an Elevator
Oh Yeah
Walkin' the Dog
Livin' On the Edge
Cryin'
Rag Doll
Last Child
S.O.S. (Too Bad)
Boogie Man
Combination
What it Takes
Legendary Child
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Mama Kin
Sweet Emotion
Walk This Way

Encore:
Dream On
Train Kept A-Rollin'


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