It might not have been the best sound quality, and with a start time edging past 11:30 p.m., some in the crowd might have been wilting a bit from fatigue.
But when Aerosmith is on stage, a lot of irritants disappear in the sheer fervor of the music.
The veteran quintet of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer (augmented by Buck Johnson on keyboards) stormed through the second night of shows staged at State Farm Arena as part of the Super Bowl Music Fest.
On paper, it seemed an incongruous lineup with Post Malone opening for the Boston legends (yes, we know they played together at the MTV Video Music Awards).
But the two factions of fans – mostly college boys for Posty and classic rock devotees for Aerosmith – respected each other, and the arena stayed packed for the duration of the concert.
Aerosmith opened with “Let the Music Do the Talking,” setting the tone for a steamrolling 75 minutes.
Perry, who endured another health scare recently, appeared in fine form as he ripped out solos, handled lead vocals on Peter Green’s “Stop Messin’ Round” and sizzled on lap steel guitar during the greasy swing of “Rag Doll.”
But, as always, Tyler is the undeniable focus of the show.
One of rock’s finest frontmen plays as if he still has something to prove, skip-walking across the stage as if riding a stick pony, tossing his scarf-laden mic stand from hand to hand and, most importantly, uncorking signature notes (“Cryin’”) as if he were a 40-year-old in his prime.
Despite the distracting delay between the live vocals and the video screen, Tyler still held the audience rapt with his shenanigans – and his maneuver across the stage to Dave Grohl, who was sitting ringside, to offer a line on “Livin’ on the Edge” was a sweet generational cross-over (Grohl, by the way, gets around – on Thursday night he joined the Zac Brown Band for a song during their Tabernacle set and will play with the Foo Fighters Saturday night).
With a Las Vegas residency ready to debut in April, it was reassuring to see the guys still in fire-breathing form, whether jamming through the blues-rocker “Walkin’ the Dog,” complete with a frenzy of lights, navigating “Janie’s Got a Gun” (a little messy, vocally) or stomping through “Mama Kin” (featuring Whitford on lead guitar) and their rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Even when Tyler donned a fedora for the gloppy balladry of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” the band sizzled behind him.
While there was no stage sharing with Malone this time, the young rapper-singer ably commanded the arena without any backdrop other than some pyro and backing tracks.
In his white printed outfit with “Posty” emblazoned on the back, he kept the crowd engaged with “Too Young,” “Over Now” and the singsong melody of “Candy Paint.”
Malone wisely introduced himself to those in attendance primarily for Aerosmith and came across as gracious and self-deprecating (although he might want to work on song introductions that begin with something other than, “This next song is…”).
Gripping the mic stand with two hands and swaying with his foot parked on the monitor in front of him, Malone didn’t need to do much more to keep the audience rapping along with the percussive tick-tock of “Wow” and his Auto-Tuned hit, “Psycho.”
When he introduced his song “Sunflower” from the “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack, it was inevitable that Swae Lee would join him. The Rae Sremmurd rapper was soon joined by brother Slim Jxmmi for their smash, “Black Beatles,” performed with Malone.
Closing his set with the trio of “Rockstar,” complemented by plumes of pyro, the catchy “Better Now” and “Congratulations” (on record, he shares the song with Migos’ Quavo, who was across town performing at the Masquerade), which all inspired much dancing in the crowd, Post Malone demonstrated his crossover appeal.
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