Aerosmith's Just Push Play tour kicks off Wednesday in Hartford, Connecticut, and, for the first time, the gigantic images projected onstage will equal the band's three-decade legacy as one of the world's biggest concert attractions.
"The stage and show are all about the band playing live," guitarist Joe Perry said on Saturday. "That's kind of what we do. But the biggest thing on this tour, literally and figuratively, will be the video screen in back."
Although some of the band's past arena shows have employed video magnification, those monitors came with the venue. This tour marks the first time the band will bring its own "huge" screen, as Perry described it, to integrate video segments and other visual elements as well as close-ups of Perry's fiery fretwork and singer Steven Tyler's lavish outfits.
Still, Perry harbors minor reservations. "We've never brought a screen with us before, so we hope it will add to the live performance, not take away from it."
The futuristic silver-skinned fembots that embellish everything associated with Just Push Play from its cover to Indy racecars (see "Aerosmith Car To Race In Indy 500") will of course adorn an elaborate stage 12 tractor-trailers will trek in pieces across 43 cities for 48 dates. Only the first two legs of the tour have been announced (see "Aerosmith Line Up North American Tour" and "Aerosmith Add Dates To Just Push Play Tour") with confirmed shows ending September 23 in West Palm Beach, Florida though Perry said the massive production will keep the band on the road until February.
It seems like a daunting task for the 50-year-old guitarist and his middle-aged bandmates singer Steven Tyler (53), bassist Tom Hamilton (49), drummer Joey Kramer (51) and guitarist Brad Whitford (49) but Perry is anxious to return to the circuit.
"I'm pretty much looking forward to getting on the road so I can get some relaxation," he explained. "These last couple of months have been hell because we've been doing other stuff, everything from videos to Superbowl shows. All the planning that goes into those things drives you nuts. But once you're on the road, you go, 'Oh, we can't do it that day because we have a gig,' and we can't do anything on our day off because it's a day off. So we're all looking forward to getting on the road and getting back to normal."
While Perry is grateful for the group's devoted fans, they're only part of the reason Aerosmith continues to rock after 30 years. Selfishness is also part of the equation.
"We're doing this for ourselves, too, because we love putting out the best show we can," he said. "When I go onstage and see the lights we have and know the PA is the best we could buy, I know our fans are going to get the best show we can give them.
"It's like if you have a circus, you don't send your people out there in sweatpants. You want to give your audience the most bang for their buck."