to enter to win the band's new album, and don't forget to check out Red's
interview with bassist Tom Hamilton.
Close your eyes and play along for a moment. Allow your rock and roll mind to
sail away to an adolescent time when finding the scratch for a couple gallons of
gas and the cheapest 6-pack on the shelf was the most daunting task in your day.
Think about how much easier it was to find common ground with a fellow
dope-smoker before the high school football game than it was to toil over who
you might ask to prom or, heaven forbid, how you were ever going to survive a
4pm-close shift at the Dairy Mart while everyone cool was loading up the station
wagon and heading to a bonfire party. While most of us struggle to even
recollect such an age, there are five battle scarred warriors who not only
helped define those gloriously formative years but endured it themselves, at
times with nine lives and then some, and today are living to tell it to an
entirely new generation.
“Welcome to the Aerosmith in your face, up close and personal tour!” Steven
Tyler proclaims as the fabled bad boys from Boston take the stage and launch
into “Beyond Beautiful,” an unheralded album track from 2001’s Just Push Play.
It’s one of 11 hand-picked, mostly throwback treasures from a catalog more vast
and time-tested than that of any band still standing (and producing) today. Set
in the intimate confines of the Hard Rock Hotel on the Vegas strip, Rockin’
the Joint finds Aerosmith in the midst of their wildly successful 2002 world
tour. But on this night the crowd was small and personal, a lottery-like guest
list of 3,000 hardcore golden ticket-holding fans shoved into a small club
ambiance for an hour and a half of sheer time-travel magic. “Beyond Beautiful”
gives way to a three song stretch that certifies this live album as pure gold.
Full tilt versions of “Same Old Song and Dance” and the Toys in the Attic nugget
“No More No More” precede the long lost artifact “Seasons of Wither,” from Get
Your Wings. Wow.
In short, a fan of the late 80s/early 90s MTV video era material ain’t gonna
find their score here. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers really go above and beyond
the standard greatest hits protocol on this one. “So you like the old shit or
the new shit?” Tyler poses to a crowd so rambunctious they sound stadium-like.
With that, they jump right into the electric harmonica boogie “Big Ten Inch
Record” and continue through a raunchy blues-stained version of Fleetwood Mac’s
“Rattlesnake Shake”. Talk about getting your wings!
The glaringly out-of-place piano ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is the
only gaffe this vintage recording makes. With radio classics like “Walk This
Way” and the best live account of “Train Kept A’ Rollin’” ever thrown in for
encores, however, such a low point is quickly overlooked. In the end, Rockin’
the Joint sports the kind of old school set list that a diehard fan himself
would scribble out if given the pen backstage. It’s everything uncomplicated and
pure about rock and roll, yesterday and today. And when Tyler inquires, “Was it
as good for you as it was for me?” at night’s end, you might honestly need a few
moments to wipe your brow, smoke a cigarette, and realize you’ve got a crying
5-month-old downstairs who needs a diaper change.