Having seen Aerosmith countless times back in the 70s, and not being a big fan of their later work, I wasn’t that upset that the band chose to play in faraway Dunedin, rather than Auckland, when they performed for the first time in New Zealand this past April. But having viewed this live DVD of the band’s recent Japanese tour, I kinda wish that I had made the trek down south. The band has gone through a few trials and tribulations over the past few years, with lead singer Steven Tyler having to file a lawsuit on the other four band members after they tried to replace him when he signed up for a stint as a judge on American Idol. Then there are the usual physical ailments, rehab visits and lousy albums that a band entering its fourth decade has to deal with. This film was shot during the band’s tour of Japan that took place in late 2011 and is ostensibly a “gift” to the people of Japan after suffering through the massive tsunami that killed 15,000 citizens the previous March. Apparently, the Japanese are huge Aerosmith fans, and that fact seems confirmed when the film makers interview one concert goer who has seen them over 150 times. I would bet that Tyler and Perry would be hard-pressed to actually remember that many of their own gigs. Anyway, this DVD is part concert film, part documentary. There are complete performances of many of the songs, partial performances of others and off-stage footage…press conferences, visits to shops and fan comments…sprinkled liberally throughout the nearly 2-hour film. Fortunately that band focuses on their harder-rockin’ older material and shies away from the big ballads here. So we get spirited versions of gems like No More No More, Mama Kin and Movin’ Out, the first song Tyler and Perry wrote together. Joe Perry usually gets most of the attention, musically, but second guitarist Brad Whitford takes an opportunity to show off his chops on Last Child and makes the most of it. So, the long-running band may be well past their creative peak, and their public displays of affection for each other are probably over-exaggerated, but they prove here that they still know how to rock when they want to.
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