Steven Tyler is probably the only man in the world who, at age 62, is still considered cool wearing a wardrobe that consists of sequined tennis shoes, feathered burnt orange velvet pants and an undersized tank top. The only other man aged 60-plus capable of pulling off such a feat might be Mick Jagger, and sequins aren’t really his style.
Tyler and his legendary rock band, Aerosmith, brought their high-energy show to La Guácima racetrack in Alajuela, west of San José, Tuesday night, enthralling the crowd of 26,000. With a set list comprised of 18 songs from their nearly 40-year anthology of hits, Aerosmith jammed for over two hours on the windy night, playing many of their most lauded songs, such as “Elevator,” “Dream On,” “Edge,” “Crazy,” “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk this Way.”
The show opened when the curtain rose, emblazoned with the wing-and-steering-wheel emblem of the band, and Tyler paraded up the catwalk into the crowd singing “Eat the Rich,” a song from the 1993 album “Get A Grip,” and swinging his trademark ribbon-laced microphone. At the conclusion of the song, Tyler pretended to begin coughing, only to then arch his back and belch, giving the crowd a laugh and setting the mood for the fun-loving, hit-saturated night.
Tyler endeared himself to the crowd early on with attempts at common Costa Rican phrases such as “pura vida” and “tuanis,” both of which loosely translate as “cool,” and by throwing two of his harmonicas into the crowd during the show. It was this element of showmanship, which included instrumental solos by each member of the group and a battle between guitarist Joe Perry and a digital version of himself in the popular video game “Guitar Hero,” that reaffirmed why Aerosmith is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to which the group was inducted in 2001.
The energetic stage antics of Tyler and guitarist Perry mimicked the attitude of the canon of Aerosmith songs, all graced with a certain sing-ability that can be recognized by even a pedestrian fan of the band. Throughout the night, fans sang word for word with Tyler, belting out the chorus to “Cryin’,” “Pink” and the melodic cheesiness of the ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” from the soundtrack of the 1998 film “Armageddon,” which starred Tyler’s daughter Liv. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”was the band’s first and only hit to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which it did for four weeks in 1998.
After the encore of “Walk This Way” and “Toys in the Attic,” Tyler told the crowd “Muchas gracias, Costa Rica” and fireworks burst into the night sky. If this is to be the last Aerosmith performance in Costa Rica, it was a memorable, joyous send-off that contrasted with the group’s visit in 1994, when 19-year-old Robinson Gamboa was trampled to death by the rushing crowd. A minute of silence was held for Gamboa prior to this year’s concert and his family sat in the front row for the show.