Aerosmith is the kind of band that when they are not, they are NOT but when they are hot, they are HOT! Chaos, in-fighting, turmoil, drama, health scares be damned, on Sunday, June 15, 2014, Aerosmith are WHITE HOT and firing on all cylinders! Thankfully, it was captured for this multi-CD/LP and Blu-Ray/DVD combo “Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014”, available through Eagle Rock Entertainment! Aerosmith charge through a 20 song set of 70’s classics, MTV era classics and deep cuts like a band possessed for the hour & forty-five minutes they were on stage at the iconic Donington Park!
Aerosmith has been in existence since 1970. This lineup has been together for almost 40 years in total so their chemistry is very evident. There was a stretch of five years from 1979-1984 where Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had exited the band. It appeared the band was on the brink of imploding just a few years ago but the weathered their internal storm and are back with a renewed vengeance!
Kickin’ off the show with their rendition of Tiny Bradshaw’s jump blues classic “Train Kept A-Rollin'”, later popularized by The Yardbirds featuring Jeff Beck, Joe Perry and a pink feathered war bonnet wearin’ Steven Tyler make their entrance via staircases beside the giant catwalk that extends out into the audience before the rest of band kicks things into gear. It was apparent in the first song that Aerosmith were firing on all cylinders as they whipped the massive crowd into a fevered frenzy complete with Joe Perry dodging a young lady’s bra. Glancing at the set list, I was scratching my head at the placing of five MTV era classics in a row after the launching the show with a song off of their second album. Maybe they were trying to cater to the majority of the audience who obviously haven’t been around for most of Aerosmith’s career.
The inclusion of “Eat The Rich” was a pleasant surprise as I’ve always dug the swagger and snotty attitude the song possesses. The band knocked it out of Donington Park. Of the five MTV era classics played during the stretch, I could have lived without “Jaded” and would have rather seen something played from their “Nine Lives” album. Something like “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees”, “Full Circle”, “The Farm” or my personal favorite “Crash”. Brad Whitford takes the lead, strapping on a beautiful Les Paul as he leads the twin guitar assault through “Last Child”. Up next was another tune that just felt out of place in the set, “Freedom Fighter” featuring Joe Perry handling the lead vocal duties. Maybe it was the political charged lyrics that provided the buzz kill. I would have opted for Joe’s version of “Stop Messin’ Around” from the criminally underrated “Honkin’ On Bobo”.
“Same Old Song And Dance” along with The Beatles classic “Come Together” definitely brought a smile to my face with their appearance in the setlist! “No More No More” was cool as well with Joe switchin’ from his Tele to “Billie”, the Gibson ES Lucille Model guitar custom painted with the image of his lovely wife. The inclusion of over-hyped “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” provided the perfect opportunity for a bathroom break and to hit the fridge for a fresh beverage. At its conclusion, I was back in the saddle. Come to think of it, why the hell was that classic left out of the set?
Following a blazing romp through “Walk This Way” a gorgeous white was brought out on the catwalk for Steven to play “Home Tonight” without band accompaniment. The band then joined him for their classic ballad “Dream On”. Towards the end of Joe’s solo Steven ascends atop the piano while changing up the lyrics of the chorus to fit his overly sexual reputation. Tom Hamilton takes his place in the spotlight for a solo spot before staring the iconic bass part that ushers in “Sweet Emotion”. Love the additions to his bass. A tongue-in-cheek tip of the cap to today’s youth? A fiery version of “Mama Kin” closes the show.
The production of this release is off the charts in terms of audio (LPCM 2.0, 48kHz, 16-bit, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 48kHz, 16-bit) and video (1080i/ MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1) for all you audiophiles and videophiles. Nice to see smooth editing with shots given their due time instead of a frenetic hodgepodge of blazing fast camera cuts.
Frontman Steven Tyler commanded the stage with a youthful exuberance as he belted out song after song. Joe Perry is his Toxic Twin who equals the swagger and coolness factor of his frontman counterpart. Brad Whitford, in my opinion, is the unsung hero of the band. He doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves for his musicianship and contribution to the Aerosmith sound. Tom Hamilton is as solid as a rock providing some fat bottom end. Joey Kramer is equal parts emotional feel and technical virtuosity.
To sum up this release, the band provides a nice cross-section of hits from all eras, some deep cuts for us diehards and more than enough swagger and bravado to continue to make new fans out of today’s generation of music fan. With each passing year and release. Aerosmith continues to build upon their well-deserved stature of one of America’s greatest Rock N’ Roll bands of all time with this release. It’ll be a sad day when they decide to ride off into the sunset but dammit, they definitely earned it. “Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014” is just another not in their bedpost!
Aerosmith – Rocks Donington 2014
Release Date: September 4, 2015 via Eagle Rock Entertainment
1. Train Kept A-Rollin’
2. Eat The Rich
3. Love In An Elevator
6. Livin’ On The Edge
7. Last Child
8. Freedom Fighter
9. Same Old Song And Dance
10. Janie’s Got A Gun
11. Toys In The Attic
12. I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
13. No More No More
14. Come Together
15. Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
16. Walk This Way
17. Home Tonight
18. Dream On
19. Sweet Emotion
20. Mama Kin
Buck Johnson – Keyboards & Backing Vocals
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Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 Trailer:
“Mama Kin” from Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014
“Walk This Way” from Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014