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Review: Aerosmith, Slash Take Tinley Park

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 27, 2014 8:30PM

This past Friday night, we found ourselves right back on the lawn at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, under a somewhat threatening sky waiting for Slash. You know, just a normal Friday.

He, along with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, set our night off right. Myles is a talented vocalist. That much was clear right away. Kennedy’s got a powerful tenor voice, and the band backing him, Slash or no Slash, had an impeccable way of laying into a groove with energy to match.

The band kicked off the show with You’re a Lie, then launched into some favorite Guns ‘N Roses and Slash charts like "Nightrain," "By the Sword," and "Sweet Child O’ Mine" to the thunderous applause of the crowd. Slash is absolutely the guitarist he always was—immensely talented and a great showman to boot. He’s one of those musicians who make the incredibly complex riffs look deceptively easy. The band also covered Slither by Velvet Revolver, and closed out the night with Guns n' Roses classic Paradise City.

As we prayed there’d be no rain, it was time for the set switch to Aerosmith. The “Bad Boys From Boston” launched right into Back in the Saddle, and it seemed they were never away from it in the first place. Steven Tyler was as eccentric and energetic as we’ve come to expect, mic stand and scarves flying in the wind, sharing the occasional standard, yet somehow charming, homoerotic moment with Joe Perry.

Eat the Rich, one of our favorites, came next, and the rest of the show was a good sampling of old and new, back to Toys in the Attic, Monkey on My Back from 1989’s Pump, Big Ten Inch Record. and even a track from Music From Another Dimension- Joe Perry’s Freedom Fighter.

is a track we tried to like, but the song just seems incongruent with the rest of the band’s catalog, and leans toward the repetitive. Still, Aerosmith puts on a wonderful show. Tyler is so at home at the helm of this band, and while he roams, jokes and dances, the band behind him keeps a’ rollin’. From Joe Perry’s oft-overlooked guitar riffs to Kramer’s drums, Hamilton’s solid bass (Tyler called him “Sweet Emotion himself”), this is a band that has it together, and on top of it still obviously enjoys playing. We don’t know what kind of alchemy keeps them together after 45 years, but we’re glad for it.

As Tyler sat down to close the night at the piano for Dream On, it was easier to see him as a songwriter and hear the way the song fit him. And while yes, he can still hit those notes in the stratosphere, it's an introspective,even autobiographical, moment for him.

No matter how much time has passed, he seems truly grateful to be where he is, performing. After all those shows and all those years. That speaks to the passion and drive that both he and the band have. That, in any genre, is something beautiful. It takes a track, a vocalist, and a band beyond a one-hit-wonder, and makes them an institution. And even after seeing so many of their shows, it's what keeps me coming back. Looking out on the crowd as the night ended, it seems I'm not alone.