STATELINE — Mick Jaggar has histrionics and Bruce Springsteen stage presence, but Steven Tyler is rock ’n’ roll’s king of theatrics.
Aerosmith, which has sold more records than any other United States’ rock band, on a warm Lake Tahoe Friday night vociferously, demonstrated it is even greater in concert.
The band from Boston, which still retains the original players, burst onto the national spotlight in the early 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums filled with iconic hit songs. That was during the time when Elvis Presley handed scarves to adoring middle-aged women as he sang gospel. Forty years later, Tyler gave his head scarf to a screaming fan during a smiling, sold-out show Aug. 8 in the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys. But Tyler is no fat Elvis. He’s athletic and trim. He spun and sprinted while he sang. He toted and teetered his mic stand with Joe Tex precision. And close-up video displayed on giant stadium screens revealed all his perfect teeth. The man who said he “snorted half of Peru” is 100 percent now.
His voice is fantastic. It was supported nicely by Buck Johnson, the touring keyboardist. But Tyler hardly missed a note, even when he and a cameraman with infrared capabilities waded into the crowd. The stage was shaped like a “T.” It extended forward 20 rows, and to the sides under the big screens and all the way to the vendor facilities. Tyler was just a few feet above people in line to buy $12 Leinies.
Joe Perry looks more and more like Keith Richards. He even has a similar gaudy ring on his left hand. He sang Peter Green’s blues, “Stop Messin’ Around,” after which there was a momentary lull in the crowd.
“What’s it getting so quiet for?” Tyler asked. “This ain’t no fucking ‘American Idol.’ ”
“Fucking” was the adjective of the night. Tyler noted the spectacular nearly full fucking moon. And after the encore songs, “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion,” closed with, “Lake Tahoe, you’re fucking beautiful.”
Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators opened the show, which included many of the guitarist’s well known songs from Guns N’ Roses. Kennedy’s tone very much emulated that of Axel Rose. Slash praised “Myles fuckin’ Kennedy on the motherfucking vocals.”
Slash, whose signature stove pipe hat atop his flaxen curly hair, blends with the black attire of the rest of the long-haired band. Abe Lincoln maybe would have liked heavy metal, too.
Slash is a guitar great. With a double-necked axe, he alternated flamenco and shrill on the song “Anastasia,” letting us in on the musical secret: Metal and flamenco are pretty much the same, just with different guitars.
Although he could have dominated the scores, Slash’s licks were tasteful. The audio was actually louder for Kennedy.
In a summer concert series like no other, this show stands out. Not only for 2014, but for the history of the 12-year tradition behind Harveys.
Aerosmith set list
Aug. 8, 2014
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
“Livin’ On The Edge”
“Kings & Queens”
“Toys In The Attic”
“Stop Messin’ Around”
“Sam Old Song and Dance”
“Miss a Thing”
“Walk the Way”
“Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion”
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators
“You’re a Lie”
“Standing in the Sun”
“Back from Cali”
“You Could Be Mine”
“World On Fire”
“By the Sword”
“Sweet Child O’ Mine”