Steven Tyler reaches out to the audience.
Review and Photos by Terry MayerMulti-generational rockers Aerosmith came back to Wisconsin for a spirited set, along with Kid Rock and Run D.M.C., to close out Alpine Valley's concert season for 2002.
Run D.M.C. came onstage first. These guys are the first rap group to earn a platinum album. Their influence on today's rappers cannot be overstated. Run (Joseph Simmons) and D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels) gave the rap world a hip-hop injection that shot the audience straight back to the simpler (and more innocent) rhymes of the 80s. The band helped Aerosmith out of an ugly slump (filled with drugs and artistic decline) nearly 15 years ago, with the hip-hop revamping of Aerosmiths' "Walk This Way." Opening the evening with the afore mentioned song, Run D.M.C. let out the strangled, but deep throated lyrics with a vitality that the two bands previous collaboration was missing. Their short set was powerful and a vital reminder of what early rap was like without all the profanities. Changing into "Mary Mary" the old school rappers were joined onstage by today's hybrid incarnation - Kid Rock.
The Detroit rapper joined the founding fathers of hip hop rap and started out with the rip rockin' rampage of "Fire Down Below" which was followed up with the electrically raunchy "American Bad Ass." With his dark shades reflecting the stage lights and sporting a fiery red bowler, Rock lit up the stage with "Fist of Rage" and "Devil Without a Cause." Rock's girls were dancing in the cages as he preened on the speakers hovering over the 35,000 bobbing heads. While the guys in the crowd looked on at the free show the girls were giving, Kid was busy with "3 Sheets (To the Wind)." Slowing up a little with "Only God" Rock came right back with "Cowboy" that had everyone joining in on the chorus. He closed out the pre-show warm-up with his signature song, the tired, but still infectious "Bawitdaba."
While Run D.M.C. and Kid Rock did there part quite well, the fans were now set for the onslaught of the runaway train known as Aerosmith. With a white curtain hovering over the stage and the drum beats behind it getting louder, Aerosmith exploded onto the stage and dropped the bomb. Tyler wasted no time and proceeded to the front of the stage to shake his peacock feathers to the girls in the front rows. Joe Perry, in his signature nonchalant way, was melting the chords on the guitar as if he were in a dual with the devil at the crossroads. Joey Kramer, banged on the drums as Brad Whitford followed on guitar and Tom Hamilton laid the fat basslines. Tyler was giving the folks a lip lashing of a lifetime on the old school rocker "Toys in the Attic." Tyler spun around in an orderly chaos as the band melded into the easy beats of "Same Old Song and Dance" from Get Your Wings. The band blasted out a muddy blues intro for "What It Takes." The boys from Boston were in top form. "Rag Doll" from Permanent Vacation ended with Tyler doing a little improv scat and dance. Shutting down the main stage, Aerosmith were escorted to a second stage located in the cheap seats on the lawn, giving the fans in the back a little taste of what it's like to be able to afford the good seats. "Stay With Me" and the classic "Dream On" carried the carefree night's tone along for the ride. The bitchy and sexy "Love In A Elevator" blurred the union between harmony and sequence. The band triumphantly made its way back to center stage. Reaching out, Tyler slid into the the tight ballad "Jaded." He brought out the blues harp for a striped down version of "Pink" and burst into the regular version. "Crying" had couples swaying in each others embrace as the flickering lighters on the hillside resembled the night's sky on a clear night.
The predictable secret, that everyone was in on, finally presented itself as Kid Rock and Run D.M.C. joined Aerosmith on stage for "Walk This Way." With three different generations and styles of music fused together it resembled an outtake from the soundtrack of "Young Frankenstein." Funny, yes and at the same time a little scary.
Aerosmith chose to play it safe, which if fine, but a little disappointing. They played their hits but were afraid to venture into their extensive catalog that never found extensive radio airplay.
But hey, it's still only rock n' roll and we like it.
Kid Rock's girls tease.
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