They’re back in the saddle again.
And those saddlebags are filled with loot.
When Aerosmith returns to town Wednesday to continue its “Deuces Are Wild” residency at the Park Theater at Park MGM, it’ll be reconvening what has been a blockbuster run.
From April — when the residency began — through October, it sold more than 160,000 tickets and grossed north of $35 million.
What’s been the key to Aerosmith’s success in Las Vegas?
Well, it is one of the bigger bands in the history of hard rock with songs you could still sing by heart even if someone swiped your cerebellum in the middle of the night.
But that doesn’t explain it entirely.
For the residency model to continue to work in Vegas, said residencies have to be unique, especially for acts who still tour, which Aerosmith does.
Fans won’t flock to Vegas and pay a premium for the same show they can see back home.
To make all those tickets worth buying, it has to be something that audiences can only experience here.
Aerosmith has constructed just such a show.
Let’s explore what makes “Deuces Are Wild” different from an Aerosmith concert at, say, the hockey arena in Toledo, Ohio.
It’s a song that only Hoosiers have heard live since the year Tom Cruise treated Oprah’s couch like a trampoline.
On July 7, Aerosmith fans who don’t reside in Evansville, Indiana, were taken to “The Other Side” for the first time in 14 years at the Park Theater.
Save for a one-off gig in the aforementioned city in 2015, Aerosmith hadn’t played the “Pump” chestnut stateside since its 2005 “Rockin’ the Joint” tour.
Yes, “Deuces Are Wild” focuses on the hits, because you must be dreaming if you think Aerosmith can skip “Dream On” in concert without furniture getting broken and riot police being called.
But throughout its run, the band has also been sprinkling in lesser-played numbers, giving the residency a more exclusive set list.
■ moody, “Draw the Line”-era rocker “Kings and Queens,” the rare Aerosmith tune to feature some banjo, which the band has played only a few dozen times in America in recent decades;
■ harmonica-fired, “Permanent Vacation” blues dirge “Hangman Jury,” which the band hadn’t aired live in 12 years before Vegas;
■ “Get Your Wings” power ballad “Seasons of Wither,” which hasn’t been a tour staple on these shores since 2007.
Throw in cuts such as the Rufus Thomas cover “Walking the Dog,” “Rocks” ripper “Rats in the Cellar,” and the Ron Burgundy-classy “Lord of the Thighs,” among the handful of songs the band has performed only sporadically in recent years, because what happens in Vegas doesn’t always happen in Pittsburgh.
Sound-wise, it’s kind of like going to the movies, but with way more brightly colored neck accoutrements.
Think about the way the sound envelops you at the cinema thanks to speakers strategically placed around the room.
Aerosmith has adopted a similar approach for its “Deuces” sound design.
In a traditional concert setup, clusters of speakers — called a line array — are mounted above the stage, with maybe three or four sets on average.
Not only does Aerosmith greatly increase the amount of line array speakers, with nine of them for a far more sweeping sound, but the group also employs new 3D audio technology called Immersive Hyperreal Sound, with a total of more than 80 speakers.
So when frontman Steven Tyler howls into his scarf-smothered microphone, his voice comes at you from all sides.
It’s a tad intense for some. But like Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old, dude (who looks like a lady).”
It’s kind of like the rock ’n’ roll equivalent of the $5,000 hamburger.
If you’re willing to spend in this city, you can get pretty much anything you want, such as a four-figure sandwich (the aforementioned FleurBurger 5000) or within arm’s length of Tom Hamilton’s shiny spaceman pants.
Yes, for a price starting around $700 you can get a seat onstage during a “Deuces” show, resulting in an up-close-and-personal view of the Aerosmith bassist’s sweet silver duds.
Another one of the more novel aspects of “Deuces” is that fans can watch the show from either side of the stage, which is twice as wide as a normal arena stage.
Those who splurge for the experience get their own pair of headphones as well, so they can hear the sound mix as if they were out in the crowd. (Standing-room-only tix, which start around $125, also are available for the budget-minded.)
There also are a pair of bars on hand, because we all know that when the band kicks into “Love in an Elevator,” it’s officially Schlitz o’clock.