Aerosmith | Pop review

O2 Arena, London

"The bad boys of Boston", as their website labels these 60-something millionaires, haven't released an album of original material since 2001, and as recently as February were planning to replace frontman Steven Tyler because of his addiction to painkillers. Yet here Aerosmith are, apparently the best of friends again, introducing a surprisingly young crowd to the finer points of rocking out in tight silver britches.

The Aerosmith template – power riffs served up with glam-rock visual flair – was established 40 years ago, and has never been updated. But the formula works better than you might expect. Tyler's face looks like a latex mask these days, but he wears a see-through fringed shirt and black nail varnish without looking too tragic, and still brings off the taxing falsetto screech at the end of their signature anthem, Dream On. Guitarist Joe Perry – Keith to Tyler's Mick – is flashy as only a 70s survivor can be, playing guitar and theremin simultaneously on Sweet Emotion and a double-necked guitar for Livin' On the Edge.

With none of the special effects of most arena acts, the onus falls on Tyler to provide thrills. He's never still: when not twirling the mic stand over his head, he's getting touchy-feely with Perry, cuddling up and slapping his fedora on to the guitarist's head. Perry gets his moment in the spotlight, proficiently singing lead on Stop Messin' Around, but Tyler has the magnetism. "I was a high school loser, never made it with the ladies," he bawls on Walk This Way, but that's hard to credit. Tyler a loser? No – Aerosmith owe him their continued existence.

• This article was amended on 17 June 2010. In the original we said Aerosmith had not released a studio album since 2001. This has now been corrected.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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