By Kevin C. Johnson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
It will apparently take more than a heavy downpour with lightning to derail the first stop on Aerosmith's world tour Wednesday night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
But the storm sure did slow things down.
After 3 Doors Down's opening set and the arrival of increasingly ominous storm clouds, a disclaimer during intermission stated that fans could wait in their cars until the storm passed, then re-enter the show.
The concert resumed roughly an hour after its scheduled time and felt noticeably abbreviated once it finally did unfold.
But Boston's bad boys definitely delivered during the high-energy 90-minute show that had Verizon filled to near capacity, at least before the storm hit.
On a large bi-level set with many movable parts that at times resembled something out of "Transformers," singer Steven Tyler, guitarist Joe Perry, bassist Tom Hamilton, keyboardist Russ Irwin, and fill-in Bobby Schneck (a local resident), taking the place of ailing guitarist Brad Whitford, showed there's lots of life left in them.
"What do you get when you mix St. Louis, Aerosmith and lightning and thunder?" the sinewy, lippy Tyler asked. The answer was, inexplicably, "Love in an Elevator," one of a few gems the band performed, including "Cryin'" and "Dream On."
But the hits weren't this concert's core. As has been touted, the band performed its 1975 classic album "Toys in the Attic" from front to back, minus "You See Me Crying" (probably lopped off for time).
That's the album with "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion," and the songs sounded great. They were probably as much a treat for fans to hear as they were for the band to perform.
One almost expected Johnnie Johnson's ghost, or at least Chuck Berry, to stroll out during the boogie-woogied "Big Ten Inch Record" (wasn't that Berry's son and grandson standing on the sidelines of the stage all night?). Perry gave Berry a shout-out, calling him the most important man in St. Louis.
The band also offered "Combination" from the 1976 album "Rocks," a song Tyler said they've never played live. Perry assumed vocals, and the song felt like a bit of filler.
If the concert lacked a stream of big hits and popular fluff, it compensated with a rip-roaring presentation. And of course there was the never-ending spectacle of Tyler, pouting, strutting and tossing clothing into the audience.
In a nod to, and discreet slam of, tour sponsor Guitar Hero, Perry played guitar against an animated version of himself, then said "but ain't nothing like the real thing."
3 Doors Down, opening the early Aerosmith support slots until ZZ Top joins the tour, performed songs such as "Kryptonite," "Behind Those Eyes," and "Train." It was all perfectly polished and a bit bland.