July 11, 2001
here for a review of Aerosmith's latest CD, Just Push Play
"O.K., here's how it's gonna be," Aerosmith's Steven Tyler announced to the sold out Polaris crowd of 20,000 greasy factory workers, grandmothers, fifth graders, teeny bopped-up hotties and just faithful, die-hard 33-year-old professionals who refuse to let go of the rock and roll dreams of past. After opening with "Beyond Beautiful" from the new record, Tyler promised, "We're here to rock your asses for two-plus hours…then we're gonna come out there and rock you some more (pointing to an assembled mini-stage out in the middle of the lawn)…so let's get this thing started!" That declaration ushered in "Love In An Elevator" and the aforementioned two hours of full-throttle rock and roll magic.
Anyone who gave up on these tired, old, washed up, sell-outs after that disgraceful Super Bowl ploy with Britney Spears and N'SYNC, will be surprised to hear that a clear and sad mistake in judgment back in January has done little to dethrone the reigning kings of arena rock! I've seen A-smith now four times in three different decades, and I can't recall a more inspired, straight-forward, no horseshit, rock'n'roll performance than the one these 50 year olds bled out on that Polaris stage in July.
The stage was simple and no frills, but effective. The sound was absolutely flawless from the first chord to the last breath, and the set list couldn't have served much more -- a near perfect cocktail of new, old, lost and rethought versions of classic Aerosmith gems, including "Mama Kin," "Toys in the Attic," "Train Kept A Rollin'," and a polished-up run through of "Seasons of Wither" from
Get Your Wings. The highlight may well have been the halfway point when they announced, "we're coming out, Columbus," and made their collective way out to the mini-stage set in the lawn. The lawn stage set opened with "Same Old Song and Dance," fell right into a beautiful version of "Dream On," and concluded with possibly my favorite song of the night, "Toys in the Attic."
Just when they had plowed through every radio and MTV hit, including soundtrack hits, etc., Tyler and Co. tossed out "What It Takes" from
Pump and wrapped up the hit factory with a bit of a closing surprise…I, personally, had them staying predictable for the final encore (maybe "Dude Looks Like A Lady"), but in keeping with the rest of the glorious evening to that point, they again amazed with a closer of "Train Kept A Rollin'"…tighter and more furious than it ever needed to be!
And then we were dismissed. Free to go on our sweaty and worn way. Free to continue the dream that Perry/Tyler created some 30 years ago, and have managed to salvage and even reinvent in the Internet Rock Generation! They reminded us that all you need do to dream this rock and roll dream is JUST PUSH PLAY!