Album: Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014
Label: Eagle Rock
Release Date: 09/04/2015
Ah Donington. Metal’s Mount Olympus. The Reservoir of Rock. It’s incumbent on any band worth its weight in heavy metal to play the place and prove its worthiness as to be included amongst the harbingers of hard rock. Naturally then, Aerosmith is right at home in the Valhalla of metal and mayhem, and if this live two-CD/one-DVD set is really simply another reprise of their greatest hits, it also serves to separate them from the also-rans.
Not many metal bands can claim to have crossed over to the mainstream as successfully, a fact that hasn’t been lost on Aerosmith itself. Simply stated, were it not for this familiar fare, their slash and burn performance would have them sounding like many of the other faceless contenders and competitors taking Donington’s stage by storm. Keeping the credence, Aerosmith gives an impassioned performance, one that finds them emphasizing the riffs and a hardcore underbelly with only halfhearted allegiance to the melodies that made each song a natural hit in radio rotation.
For that reason, the band’s sole ballad, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” seems oddly out of place in the midst of these barn burners, while the hook-laden refrains of “Love In An Elevator,” “Dude Looks Like A Lady” and “Sweet Emotion” are given only perfunctory reads. Which is all well and good considering the fact that the crowd is inclined to sing along regardless, and all that’s really important in this setting is the predominance of Steve Tyler’s screeching vocals and Joe Perry’s incendiary riffing.
Those already familiar with the set list might take the option of first watching the DVD to fully appreciate the band’s dynamic. It’s the band’s showmanship that other elevates this familiar fare. It vindicates them to a degree, making it apparent that in this particular setting, even 40 years on, this venerable bunch has never, ever been better.