Album review: Aerosmith, Rockin’ the Joint (2005)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 5, 2006

By Steve Newton

The shrink-wrap sticker boasts that the new Aerosmith CD includes live versions, recorded at Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel, of “No More No More”, “Seasons of Wither”, and “Draw the Line”. Now, if you’re a fan of the quintet’s earliest (i.e., best) work, this type of point-of-purchase advertising bodes well, because those gems are taken from Toys in the Attic, Get Your Wings, and Draw the Line, respectively.

If Aerosmith made you feel alive in ’75, the last thing you want to see is a sticker announcing in-concert renditions of overplayed, horn-driven ’80s ditties like “Love in an Elevator” or “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”. Even worse would be ’90s dreck such as “Pink” or “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)”.

When I flipped the disc over to view the complete track listing, the news was still good. A live version of the Armageddon soundtrack’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is out of place here, but for the most part, the set list is firmly entrenched in the halcyon era of mag wheels and 8-track tapes. After the former Toxic Twins get the routine latter-day song “Beyond Beautiful” out of the way, it’s “Same Old Song and Dance” time, and you know that can’t be bad.

Steven Tyler is in fine form, but Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s typically off-the-cuff lead-guitar wipeouts steal the show. When Tyler announces “Joe Perry in the house” and Perry responds by ripping into the scorching slide riff from “Draw the Line”, I could almost smell that mickey of lemon gin behind the Chilliwack pool hall.

For a bunch of oldsters who don’t indulge anymore, they can still conjure a party-hearty racket.

At one point Tyler asks the crowd, “So, do you like the old shit or the new shit?”, and the bellowed response is: “Old shit!” He rewards them with the swingin’, sassy “Big Ten Inch Record” from exactly 30 years ago. Yes, it has been that long, but the five original members have aged incredibly well, even without the lemon gin to pickle their talents.

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