Photography by Terry Mayer
The Bad Boys from Boston continue to prove they are just as capable of attracting the younger crowd as the now 40 and older crew that made them famous back in their 1970s beginnings.
Aerosmith performed at Alpine Valley Music Theater June 13, the second show in their A to Z Tour.
The crowd was an interesting mix of older folks and young children, all who seemed to not be disappointed by the band’s performance of some tunes written long before some of the 10- to 20-year-olds in the audience were even born.
Whether going to the concert to experience old-time rock at its best or because of a devotion to Aerosmith, some of the younger kids knew what they were doing.
They sang along to some tunes from “Toys in The Attic” that even some who were out and about when the album came out in 1975 could not sing along to.
They knew some of the guitar licks and could almost pluck along, note-by-note, what lead guitarist Joe Perry was doing on his Gibson Les Paul.
Perhaps it’s the Guitar Hero effect.
The band launched June 2008 a version of the game that takes the player through the landmarks in Aerosmith’s career.
Garrett Rothbauer, 9, of Lake in the Hills, Ill., who was at the concert, said Guitar Hero: Aerosmith got him into the band’s music and keeps him coming back to rock concerts.
James Hauglie, 10, of Milwaukee, was also at Alpine and plays the game.
“I know lots of songs,” Hauglie acknowledged before the concert. He said his father got him in the game because he was an Aerosmith fan long before the 10-year-old was in the picture.
Perry faced off his game character during a version of the bands’ famous “Livin’ on the Edge.” He returned each of the game character’s solos with even-more fired up licks on his guitar.
In the end, the roaring crowd seemed to have agreed, the real Perry was victorious.
“There’s nothing like the real thing,” he said.
Vocalist Steven Tyler, 61, spared a few of his usual high notes here and there but still drove the crowd insane during “Dream On” with his usual screeching and nearly impossible-to-hit high notes.
“I don’t understand how you can still hit those … high notes man,” Perry told him after the song.
The band performed long-time hits “Cryin’,” “Love in an Elevator” and “Jaded,” along with back-to-back songs from 1975’s “Toys in the Attic.”
It’s hard to tell for sure how much longer Tyler will continue to dance about on stage or fire up the crowd with his vocal solos. Not sure how long the rest of the aging rockers will keep up with their demanding concert routine, either.
But one thing is almost for sure: As long as Aerosmith can still rock, they will likely attract an ever-growing crowd of fans to roll with them.