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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Aerosmith with Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA

Aerosmith with Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA
Thursday 5th July, 2012

So there I was, heading to ‘The Post’ – A local bar and grill now known as The Venue. – for a farewell gathering with some co-workers, as I was quitting my job on the Friday, to start my new one on the Monday, when I realized who was across the road that night, playing at the Palace of Auburn Hills?
No less than Aerosmith with special guests, Cheap Trick opening.

I thought, this place is going to be packed with concert goers, etc … It would be a madhouse in there, but we won’t be there long … Next thing I know, courtesy of local radio station Detroit’s own WRIF, broadcasting from inside the bar / grill, with DJ Meltdown, I find myself with two tickets for the evening’s show, through a WRIF giveaway, sweet!

So, I’m on the phone to Rhonda saying, ‘Honey, you have to try and find someone to watch our two great kids tonight.’ She’s like, ‘Why? The temperature outside is like 100°F and I’m fine in the A/C at home …’
I tell her, ‘I’ve just snagged two tickets to tonight’s Aerosmith show at the Palace!’

Aerosmith of course have multi-platinum album awards for countless albums, ‘Toys in the Attic’ is eight times platinum in the US, ‘Pump’ and ‘Get A Grip’ are both seven time platinum albums, just to name three releases, the rest are equally as impressive.

What many people probably don’t know is that Cheap Trick holds four US platinum album awards, three Canadian platinum awards, plus two gold album awards in each of the same countries too!
Not too shabby credentials at all are they?!

Cheap Trick live at The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan

So Cheap Trick opens the night with ‘Clock Strikes Ten’ and I wonder with where our seats are located – Nosebleed section … i.e. Very high up, check out the pictures, with max zoom deployed on my phone … No regular camera, as I didn’t know we were going! – Yes, I just wondered how it would be for the evening …
Well, the seats we had were up high and as you look at the stage, to the right basically.
A huge flaw about the venue itself, is although it’s the home of the Detroit Piston’s basketball team, it also plays host throughout the year, to many live shows and put simply, unless you are on the main floor, with the PA and stage sound equipment pointing at you, up and to the sides, it’s never great. Add to that, the venue does not have any acoustic ceiling sound tiles, it’s not great.

Cheap Trick as we looked down on them, certainly looked their usual cheeky selves, with Robin Zander wearing a fake military like outfit, including the cap of say a captain, etc. They were moving around quite a bit and although it’s all the original band, bar Bun E. Carlos, whose replacement is Rick Neilson’s son, Daxx. Robin Zander and Tom Peterson complete the current lineup.

'ELO Kiddies' was next up and the sound is really big and booming where we are, shame, as I’ve yet to catch a Cheap Trick live show, with good sound. :(

The band’s cover of The Move’s 'California Man' is next and it’s well done, and the band continue with another popular number of theirs, another cover in 'Ain’t That A Shame.'

'Sick Man of Europe' is next, from their last studio album, 'The Latest,' before 'Baby Loves To Rock.'

Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills

I really wish I could’ve been reviewing this from better seats, as I do enjoy the band, but trying to give anyone, any kind of reasonable review from way up in the heavens of the venue, is asking a lot!

Next is 'Need Your Love,' followed by 'I Know What I Want' and it’s getting close to them wrapping up their set and 'Surrender' follows next.
A great song, sadly once more without a great sound.

Rick then finally steps up to the microphone to speak to the crowd, introducing the band and then saying how much Detroit has always been great them and how much music history in the city and thanks to Jim McCarty, MC5, The Romantics, Eminem, etc.

Robin Zander then steps up to the mic, as they kick off 'The Flame' next. It’s such a fantastic tune. Vocally it sounds a little improved, but there’s not a lot in it to be honest.

'I Want You To Want Me' has the crowd up and singing, before 'Dream Police' hits us next. Great stuff!
Rick grabs his five neck guitar and they jam 'Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen' and they’re done.

Aerosmith are currently out on their North American ‘Global Warming Tour’ and of course, Steven Tyler is taking a break away from his latest stardom trip, as a judge on TV’s American Idol.

So the band are back together and how long will it last with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, following previously much publicized bust ups, including much talk last year of the band getting a replacement for Tyler onboard.

Well, obviously that didn’t happen and Messer’s Tyler and Perry are joined by the old gang that IS Aerosmith and the best known and loved version featuring Joey Kramer (Drums), Brad Whitford on guitars and Tom Hamilton on bass.

They have the huge stage setup, as I saw with them last time around, big lighting trusses, big HD video screens and walkways all over and Joey Kramer’s drum kit on a sliding base that moves out forward for his drum solo.

Aerosmith stage setup at The Palace of Auburn Hills

As the lights go down, Tyler and Perry appear amid the dry ice at the end of the long walkway / runway, that reaches about midway into the main floor, with the ‘other guys’ back on the main stage area.

They open with ‘Draw The Line,’ before then kicking into ‘Love In An Elevator’ which tends to hit home more with the crowd, which is generally a younger mixed audience. There are many screaming girls though, without a doubt!

Steven Tyler, I simply can’t express this enough, the guy is the ultimate showman. It really does not matter how old this guy is, he is all about trying to acknowledge as many sections of the audience as he possibly can and he does so, so well.
He on stage posing, no one can match surely?!
He’s has just got …, IT!

‘Oh Yeah’ is next with some jamming from the band set back keyboard player, alongside the female backing vocalists, who we can hear throughout, who along with the keys man and percussion guy, get no introduction …

‘Living On The Edge’ next is a gem, as is ‘Jaded’ that follows great stuff, but one thing, really does seem very apparent with each song … The guitar solos just seem to become longer these days, more jamming, to the point at times, where lesser known songs can really start to get more than a little drawn out. My statement is based on where many of the fans would get up on their feet for many songs, but after these solos between Whitford and Perry go back and forth so much, the folks start sitting down again.

Aerosmith live on stage - The Palace of Auburn Hills

'S.O.S. (Too Bad)' is followed by ‘Last Child’ and it seems to be an area of the bands material where many seem to struggle to acknowledge the tracks and ‘be into it’ once again, especially when the band gets into dragging the solos out, especially at this time where Whitford really gets into a blues like jam and it seems that Joey Kramer was looking like, alright, come on guys, let’s move on!

Ironically, it’s Joey’s drum solo next, introduced by Steven Tyler complete with strobe lighting, then towards the end of Joey’s solo, Tyler grabs some sticks and stands alongside Joey, jamming some on the drums too.

Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) drum solo, live in Detroit

‘Lord of the Thighs’ is next and certainly the crowd is up on their feet again and into this, as Betty Boop is played on the backing video screen and yes, they really seem to drag this one out ... A three minute something song, gets dragged out for something like seven or eight minutes or more. I should’ve been timing these, to prove the point!

‘Boogie Man’ from ‘Get A Grip’ is next before some lead in blues and Joe Perry taking the lead vocal for ‘Combination’ before ‘What it Takes’ kicks in and they drag the tune out more, with further extended soloing.
Joe then Brad, then Brad, then Joe, then back and forth some more …

‘No More, No More’ gets the crowd excited some more before Steven says, ‘Let’s play some new music,’ cue ‘Legendary Child,’ from the band’s forthcoming new album, ‘Music From Another Dimension.’
Personally, I’m not taken by the new track, even if in places it kind of reminds me of ‘Shut Up and Dance.’

Steven Tyler on stage with Aerosmith in Detroit, MI. July 2012

Next it’s ‘Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)’ and again, clearly a popular number, then it’s back to the classics of old, with ‘Chip Away The Stone,’ ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Mother Popcorn’ too.

‘Walk This Way’ closes the main set, before the band comes back to encore with ‘Dream On’ – Of course! – and ‘Train Kept A Rollin.’’

I cannot have any reason to complain, since I got lucky in picking up tickets in a giveaway, but to others here tonight, that paid good money, I wonder what their take was on the show.
The band probably will not be able to keep things going for too many more tours at their age, perhaps a sign is that the current tour was only around twenty or thirty dates long, across North America, indicates they are not doing massive tours anymore.

As I have commented throughout, many of the songs seem to be becoming longer jams and when you think of many of the songs that they could’ve played and didn’t - due to lengthening of others - that were huge hits, you do begin to wonder how fans will take the current tour and if they’ll even consider coming back to see them again, especially at the high prices charged by the band for their show.

I’ll personally be looking to check out Cheap Trick another time, in hopefully a better setting, but I might just give future Aerosmith gigs a miss.

Overall rating of gig: 3.25 out of 5

Perhaps in a different position, sound could've been better, in which case I'd up it to:
4 out of 5

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