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Aerosmith Unfold Their Wings at Cleveland Concert

Mark Davis, Getty Images

Throughout most of Aerosmith‘s concert in Cleveland, Ohio last night (June 19), a single square panel of the circular video screen above the band refused to fall in line with the rest of the display, broadcasting random colors instead of say, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in action.

This rogue screen served as a metaphor for much of the night, reminding everyone that every band, including the mighty Aerosmith, sometimes needs a few nights on a tour to shake out all the glitches and fully gel.

This was only the band’s second concert of their 2012 trek, and while their chops, charisma and willingness to improvise were all on display throughout the evening, inconsistent audio and some questionable setlist choices kept things from catching fire until the back half of the concert.

After a short video intro, Perry and Tyler emerged from a catwalk deep in the crowd, seemingly miles away from their bandmates, as everyone kicked into ‘Draw the Line.’ Muddy sound marred both that song and the follow-up, ‘Love in an Elevator.’ The new song they played next, ‘Oh Yeah,’ could prove to be great but didn’t stick on first listen — again, the sonics were be a factor. A rather stilted rendition of ‘Livin’ on the Edge’ got us wondering if we were about to witness our first ever dud Aerosmith concert.

Our fears intensified with puzzling versions of the usually reliable “mach two” tracks ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Cryin’,’ which both seemed extra-plastic, as if the core group’s supporting musicians, especially the keyboardist, were cranked up too loudly.

(Another question: How on earth can you play ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ but not ‘Back in the Saddle?’)

A few songs later, though, Aerosmith locked into their best groove of the night with the strutting ‘Last Child,’ and after joining (and possibly bugging the hell out of) Joey Kramer behind the drum kit for the Perry-fronted ‘Combination,’ Tyler got the crowd fully invested and involved with his a capella opening for ‘What it Takes.’

Things started to boil properly from there, with new song ‘Legendary Child’ erasing some doubts about the band’s new album, and a murder’s row of classics — ‘Mama Kin,’ ‘Sweet Emotion,’ ‘Walk This Way,’ ‘Dream On’ and ‘Train Kept-A-Rollin” — sending everybody home happy.

To be clear, this show was good to very good all night, just not up to the level of some recent, life-affirming Aerosmith gigs we’ve attended in recent years. We’d bet our prized copy of ‘Toys in the Attic’ that later shows on this tour will be even better.

Next: Even the Worst Aerosmith Song Beats This Tattoo

Watch Aerosmith Perform ‘Last Child’ in Cleveland

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