At Staples, Aerosmith continued doing all the great things from the first stop -- lots of energy, a fast-paced set featuring a catalogue of old classics, plus some participation from surprise guests -- in addition to infusing the set with more of the newer, MTV hits like "Jaded" and "Dude Looks Like A Lady.
The band is more popular than ever these days, not just from the long string of radio hits and world tours but of course because Mr. Tyler was an American Idol judge for a season. There was a good crowd mix that included a wide demographic but more women than men -- plus Kiss' Gene Simmons milling about.
The lights went down and the place went crazy. Tyler and his co-star, guitarist Joe Perry, did a little walk this way to the middle of the arena via a ramp stretching from center stage, and there they tore their way through "Toys in the Attic," "Love in an Elevator" and "Jaded."
Tyler is 64 and Perry is 62, yet they're both in great shape, and they were dressed in fancy rock-star garb, as Tyler took the stage in a white, floor-length coat with matching pants, hat and sunglasses, and Perry, wearing a black hat, was adorned in a European-style blazer accented by flowing scarves.
Fellow guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer were giving it all they had, and well-executed hits kept coming with "Livin' on the Edge," "Last Child" and "Rag Doll."
Then, Johnny Depp strapped on a guitar and joined the proceedings -- just like at the Bowl show -- and Aerosmith soon broke into a rendition of the Beatles' classic "Come Together," and everyone in the crowd was standing and pumping their fists and singing along, as the light show kept flashing along while a video projector rolled live footage on a big screen behind them.
These days, you can check online for the set lists of countdown shows, but Aerosmith mixed it up this time -- "Mama Kin" is usually first but was held unto the end, and there were a few other surprises -- and the pacing was mostly fast and furious, with the obligatory guitar and drum solos not quite as drawn out as last time.
"Walk This Way" was a big favorite with its unforgettable guitar riff and bouncy lyrics. Just copying the words down is fun enough, but when prancing Tyler sings them, it's just a blast:
Seesaw swingin' with the boys in the school and your feet flyin' up in the air/
Singin' "Hey diddle diddle" with your kitty in the middle of the swing like you didn't care/
So I took a big chance at the high school dance with a missy who was ready to play/
Wasn't me she was foolin' 'cause she knew what she was doin' and I knowed love was here to stay when she told me to walk this way
In pop music, some things are meant to be, and "Walk This Way" was a hit single waiting to happen.
Aerosmith took a 10-minute break before returning for an encore, coming forth with "Dream On," as Tyler's grand piano rose from the trap-door surrounding by clouds of billowing white fog. The eternally young singer with jeweled earrings and feathers in his hair hit all the high notes, amazingly, and Perry got so caught up in the moment that he jumped onto the piano and played along without missing a beat.
Then another surprise. Izzy Stradlin from Guns N' Roses joined in on guitar for a rousing version of "Mama Kin" to put an exclamation point on the proceedings.
Cheap Trick opened. The Chicago band has been around nearly as long as Aerosmith -- singer Robin Zander is 59, and goofball guitarist Rick Nielsen is 63 -- but they'll always have an audience playing their classics like "I Want You to Want Me," "Dream Police" and, of course, "Surrender" with its catch line "Mama told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls you."
On this go, the group played a few more obscure songs than usual, and Aerosmith's Whitford joined in for "Surrender" though no one bothered to mention his name.
The bad part was leaving out "The Flame," Cheap Trick's only No. 1 single. They also didn't play "Don't Be Cruel," their second-biggest hit that reached No. 5, along with "Ain't That a Shame," 'Tonight It's You" and other usual crowd favorites.