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Pop Music Review

What Else Could Aerosmith Do But Rock?

May 10, 1999|MARC WEINGARTEN

Among the short list of veteran rock bands that are still making a go of it, Aerosmith has by far the sharpest survival instincts. It's almost as if the quintet has thrived by cleaving itself into two separate entities: There's the band that churns out power ballads for action-adventure movies, and the band that keeps the heavy-metal flame burning bright on stage. Say what you will about the former incarnation, as a live act Aerosmith is about as sturdy as a Mack truck and as reliable as Big Ben.

At the Hollywood Bowl on Friday, Aerosmith stuck to its guns and played to its strengths, turning in a set that could have been determined by a Roper Poll. Long known for its playful, boisterous live shows, Aerosmith has added a few '90s-era nips and tucks. The result was no-frills guitar-rock gussied up with gaudy pyrotechnics.

The band members struck the usual poses: Bassist Tom Hamilton and guitarist Brad Whitford stood stoically to one side while singer Steven Tyler played the lascivious court jester and lead guitarist Joe Perry radiated regal cool.

The band rolled out the hits, both old and new--"Dream On," "Love in an Elevator," "Walk This Way"--while strobe lights provided visual punctuation for choice riffs and vocal phrases. In other words, it was a typical '90s Aerosmith show--no surprises, but no real liabilities, either.

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