ATLANTIC CITY, NJ— Boardwalk Hall recently hosted a twin bill of Sammy Hagar and Aerosmith. For fans of classic rock it was a great combination, Hagar’s show had bartenders serving him tequila that he would sip and give to the audience. The crowd seemed to dig the ‘Red Rocker’ and his traveling band, The Wabos. The most interesting part of the show were the Van Halen songs Hagar performed, which included “Best of Both Worlds,” “Right Now,” which had a spacey sound with repeating vocal tracks and “Why Can’t This Be Love.” And, of course, the band played some Hagar hits as well as a new song.
Hagar received a warm welcomed while the crowd waited for fellow rock legends Aerosmith to appear. Many entertained themselves by peering through a shear curtain, which finally opened to reveal the band playing their classic “Back in the Saddle” that began with a tasteful keyboard intro and bright, circular lights.
The stage had 10 video screens and one massive flat-screen which stood tall behind the Boston-based group. The screens displayed footage during each song, including “Train Kept A-Rollin” which is always a crowd pleaser.
“Love in an Elevator” had the small screens jumping up and down in tune with the music. By then the band was smoking, they were tight and the stripper videos were a nice back drop. For “Livin’on the Edge,” Tyler flicked his glasses into the crowd from the catwalk in a flamboyant display of swagger. “What it Takes” started out acapella with Tyler singing solo. Keyboardist Russ Urban joined in and soon after the band did the same. It was a great moment.
When the band was gearing up to play some of their mega hits, Tyler indictated guitarist Joe Perry saying, “Here’s my American Idol.” Perry, responded promptly with another vintage reverb solo. “Sweet Emotion” was introduced with another solo, this time however, from Tom Hamilton that was very well received.
During the first encore the lights turned low to the stage and the band played “Dream On” in what would prove to be among the night’s most memorable moments.
“Walk This Way,” the last song was set to a faster pace than on record and smoke and confetti seemed to shoot out of Perry’s guitar after he kneeled down to smash it. Regardless of whatever inner band strife that has been reported recently, Aerosmith interacted like they were still close friends. Whatever their fate however, the band proved to all in attendance that they can still put on a terrific live show.