Aerosmith have been fixtures on the American music scene for more than 40 years and, amazingly, show no signs of slowing down even with all five members well into their 60s and frontman Steven Tyler inching closer to 70. Never a band to rest on their laurels, Aerosmith showed just how much rocket fuel is left in the tank last year with a show-stopping performance at England’s famed Donington Park.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were tabbed to headline the 2014 Download Festival last June 14 and their blistering live set is captured in all its glory on the two-CD/one-DVD set “Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014.” The band — Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer — lets it all hang out during a 20-song set that spans their entire career.
“It’s always an absolute hoot that leaves me howling at the moon, performing at Donington we couldn’t have had a better time on stage that night,” Tyler recalls. “I could feel the vibes of all the greats pulsing through the stage like AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica and so many more.”
The chemistry that comes with the same five musicians playing together for four decades is evident throughout the 102-minute concert. Tyler is one of the all-time great frontmen and his profanity-sprinkled banter with the crowd earns raucous applause. Aerosmith still sound great and shine brightest during performances of “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “Cryin’,” “Last Child,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and the set-closing trio “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion” and “Mama Kin.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Perry’s turn at the microphone for “Freedom Fighter” is a rare misfire. And the schmaltzy “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” though clearly a crowd pleaser, wouldn’t have been missed. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aerosmith still strutting their stuff a decade from now. (Jeffrey Sisk)