Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Capering with the Studly Men ; Aerosmith Maintains Its 1970s Panache, and Those Studded Codpieces

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Capering with the Studly Men ; Aerosmith Maintains Its 1970s Panache, and Those Studded Codpieces

Article excerpt

Steven Tyler and the band still exhibit the cartoonish exaggeration that has made it an arena stalwart for decades.

That improbable species, the 1970s rock star, was alive and high- kicking as Aerosmith headlined Nassau Coliseum on Sunday night, sharing a bill with Cheap Trick. Those creatures are studly men -- according to their songs -- who wear sequined clothes and clearly devote a lot of time to hair care. They caper around a stage like overgrown teenagers, tracked by spotlights while smoke billows on cue, regularly hugging and backslapping one another even though they've made their quarrels public.

For the singer Steven Tyler, a microphone stand is a maypole, a hobbyhorse, a dance partner, a weapon and an all-purpose Freudian symbol; his outfit also included a studded codpiece. For the guitarist Joe Perry, his longtime partner in Aerosmith's production and songwriting, a mere trill or squiggle in a solo can set off arena-wide squeals of joy, especially when he delivers it rearing back as if he were aiming at the balconies, with a fan blowing through his white-streaked hair.

Aerosmith's band members are in their 60s now, so seeing them as boyish involves some suspension of disbelief -- particularly with the grizzled guitarist Brad Whitford, who was costumed like a member of some other band, wearing a cowboy hat and denim, while the rest of Aerosmith glittered. But the band can still carry off the enterprise of being Aerosmith -- the music as much as the shtick -- with muscle and panache.

In the eight years since Aerosmith released a new album, Mr. Tyler has picked up a new job as a judge on "American Idol," a show that often rewards vocal athleticism and over-the-top stage presence. He's thoroughly qualified: an unstoppable vocalist who was belting, howling, letting loose falsetto whoops or barking rhymes at proto-hip-hop speed.

He sang as if he were playing around, casually tossing in profane rewrites of familiar lyrics. But amid the cartoonish exaggeration that made Aerosmith arena rockers nearly four decades ago, Mr. …

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