Anonymous commenter was definitely correct. Cheap Trick sounded great, putting on an energetic and cheerful show at Irvine Meadows last night, even though they'd been relegated to the opener spot (1 hour, no encore, which was too bad). They played their best known songs--"I Want You To Want Me," "Surrender," and "Dream Police"--and they did a great cover of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour." I didn't quite catch the story, but they are playing several shows in Vegas that have something to do with the Beatles. The son loves "Surrender," and it's always good to see a 16-year-old grinning ear to ear and singing his heart out.
Then there was Aerosmith. I wouldn't even qualify myself as a casual fan of Aerosmith. I don't necessarily change the station if they come on the radio, I like some of their songs, I don't own any of their albums (the spouse does), and I've never felt a compelling need to see them live (the spouse saw them around 1978). I am aware of the two main members of the band, but couldn't tell you if the rest of the band has been the same or revolving door or what.
So, I have to admit that I was surprised that I recognized every song Aerosmith played but two, up until we left (after "Sweet Emotion." There are some bands you will battle traffic for and some bands you will not battle traffic for. We got home at 11pm; the friend who stayed until the end of the show about 15 minutes later got home at 1am). Granted, they've been around for 40-odd years probably, and the first time I heard of Aerosmith ("Dream On," which even got AM radio play in Tucson), I was younger than the daughter. They've had plenty of radio hits, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I recognized an hour and a half's worth of music. Were they worth a $10 lawn ticket? Absolutely. But were we willing to pay an extra $10 each to upgrade to an actual seat in the loge? Nope.
Aerosmith is certainly a competent 1970s arena rock band, which is exactly how they came off: a 1970s arena rock band. They sounded good and had a nice light show but they seemed like a bit of an anachronism. Joe Perry had a funny little bit of schtick playing against himself on Guitar Hero. I have to admit I laughed when it looked like Steven Tyler was bent over singing in a security guy's ear--the expression on the security guy's face was priceless. The scantily clad females videos were a bore (even the son--may I remind you he's 16?--scoffed and complained about that). The drummer produced the most unbelievably lame drum solo I've ever seen. Beating on the the kit with his fists, elbows, and head. Really? Whatever floats yer boat, dude. If the band did actually ingest as many controlled and illegal substances as they are credited with, I suppose it is a bit of a wonder that they can actually still stand on stage (the spouse and I speculated that Mr. Tyler's recent performance at a California Home Depot might actually have been more fun).
Let me emphasize that there was nothing wrong with Aerosmith's set, but there was nothing there to wow me. I could have had pretty much the same experience watching VH1 (okay, I'd have missed the moon rise. I do mean the actual moon, not a bit of the anatomy of one of the drunken members of the audience, which overall was pretty well behaved).
But worth the $10 for each of our tickets? Sure. Parking was free, and we had a potluck in the parking lot with our friends before the show. And I'm always willing to give a band that I've never seen live a chance to win me over. Cheap Trick did.
Go listen to some music: "Surrender" from the album Heaven Tonight by Cheap Trick. I did some reading up on Cheap Trick this morning, and really had no idea these guys have been around for so long. I remember first hearing them in the 1980s.