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Aerosmith Rocks Staples Center

Aerosmith Rocks Staples Center

By Mike Duffy
Photo credit: Amanda Ayre

In the moments leading up to Aerosmith’s show at Staples Center this week, a giant video screen showed live footage of the band warming up backstage. 

Letting the excitement build and the chants grow louder for a few minutes, Aerosmith came out with a rollicking rendition of their classic “Toys in the Attic.”  With frontman Stephen Tyler’s flowing white jacket and top hat providing a contrast to guitarist Joe Perry’s black coat and hat, the yin and yang of these Boston rockers played to the center of the arena on a catwalk that jutted out into the crowd.

Tyler struts around the stage.  Photo credit: Amanda Ayre

The duo’s interplay and charisma from the start let everyone know that they were in for a treat. 

And that’s not to belittle Aerosmith’s musicianship.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers were incredibly on their game.  Tyler can still wail with the best of them, Perry and fellow guitarist Brad Whitford unleashed fiery solos, and bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer were relentless from booming open to majestic close. 

And even though Aerosmith released Music from Another Dimension! In November, this was a set that relied mainly on the hits from over 40 years of recording.

“Love in an Elevator” had Perry and Tyler sharing the same microphone, even harmonizing the last poignant line.

That was followed by the 2001 gem “Jaded.”

One might remember that Mila Kunis was featured in the original “Jaded” music video, so fans of Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler might feel let down since “Crazy” didn’t make it to the setlist.

It didn’t matter, though.

“Livin’ on the Edge” immediately recalled memories of its constant rotation on MTV (in a clip that starred Edward Furlong, for that matter). 

If there is somewhat of a Hollywood theme running through this report, such notions will be further exacerbated with the surprise appearance of a very Pirates of the Caribbean-looking Johnny Depp.  The A-list actor ambled out with guitar in tow for electric renditions of Fleetwood Mac’s “Stop Messin’ Around” and the Beatles’ “Come Together.” 

Depp’s been active on the live music scene of late, playing with Aerosmith last August at the Hollywood Bowl and with Alice Cooper in November at the Orpheum Theatre.  He also jammed with the Black Keys at this year’s MTV Movie Awards, where Aerosmith presented him with the Generation Award.

Most fans would have been happy with a finale of “Walk This Way,” but Aerosmith had an incredible encore in their pocket.

Whitford in the midst of a solo.  Photo credit: Amanda Ayre

After a short break, Tyler sat at a white piano to play the opening part of “Dream On” amidst building fog.  Out of the smoke came Perry to stand on the piano and solo, before Tyler took his spot to belt out the shrieking last lines of the song.

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin then strolled out to guest on “Mama Kin” before Aerosmith sent the audience into the Los Angeles night with a triumphant “Sweet Emotion.”

With that thumping classic, Perry’s vocoder never sounded so good.

Setlist:

“Toys In The Attic”
“Love In An Elevator”
“Jaded”
“Oh Yeah”
“Livin’ On The Edge”
“Movin’ Out”
“Walkin’ The Dog”
“Last Child”
“Rag Doll”
“Boogie man”
“Combination”
“Stop Messin’ Around”
(w/ Johnny Depp)
“Come Together”
(w/ Johnny Depp)
“Lover A lot”
“What It Takes”
“No More No More”
“Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”
“Walk This Way”

Encore:
“Dream On”
“Mama Kin”
(w/ Izzy Stradlin)
“Sweet Emotion”

For more information, visit Aerosmith’s official website.

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