“Do not attempt to adjust the illusion.” And so it begins. Following a few backstage snippets, the bad boys of Boston take to the huge stage at Donington Park in England and start getting our rocks off with “Train Kept A Rollin.” Through twenty songs, Aerosmith takes us on a glorious voyage of what a rock & roll concert should be. Steven Tyler has never met a camera he didn’t like so in this particular experience, especially if you have a big screen television with surround sound, he’s right in your face, as if you were the blonde in the front row stealing all his attention.
With the supreme quality of the video and the crystal clear sound, the whole room will light up and you may for a few split seconds feel like you are in the crowd at the Download Festival. Don’t be surprised if you start raising your fist and yelling out, “Joe Perry is a god!” before realizing you are actually in your house. It’s that real and works so perfectly with a band like Aerosmith. Tyler, Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer reach out and grab you by the throat and lift you twenty feet in the air with “Eat The Rich,” “Mama Kin,” “Come Together,” “Last Child,” “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Dude Looks Like A Lady,” “Same Old Song & Dance” and “Dream On.” It’s the next best thing to being there.
Aerosmith has always been a live band at heart. From their very beginnings, they have brought to the stage the adrenalin that makes rock & roll the ultimate high. As music critic David Wild writes in the booklet that accompanies the film, “Has any frontman ever stayed as deeply connected to the true spirit of rock & roll than Steven Tyler?” In a brief glimpse behind his dressing room door, as an array of femme fatales pass by, the camera flicks to Perry: “It’s just girls. You’ve never seen girls before?” If anyone personifies rock god, Tyler certainly has winning dibs on the position. From singing his heart out on “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” to the humbleness of “Home Tonight” to allowing himself to be lovingly groped by fans during “Last Child,” the man never shuts off.
Perry, himself, knows how to pull a rock star move or two: singing his signature “Freedom Fighter” from the band’s Music from Another Dimension, their last album of original material, stepping onto the top of the piano during “Dream On” in one of the most anticipated moments in their set, castrating his guitar amidst “Sweet Emotion” and blazing through “Last Child” with such fire that Tyler screams, “Kramer, get us out of this!”
“As long as we get the vibe that the fans are really interested in hearing us, it’s going to be very hard to ever break up this band,” Hamilton told me in a 2012 interview. There were a few times, though, that fans thought the band was done but happily, things worked out to where all five band members are still performing as a whole today and performing at the top of their game. “We guarantee a good rock show,” Brad Whitford stated in a 2014 interview with Glide, and despite a couple of little cheesy slo-mo moments, that’s exactly what they do; just this time, you don’t have to leave the living room.
Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 comes in several formats and packaging, including DVD and Blu-Ray, accompanied with either two CDs or three LPs.
Check out Glide’s recent interviews with Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford