Aerosmith is as much a force of nature as it is a band. If you like them you will like this documentary DVD. If you don't... well you still might find it interesting, even enjoyable, as long as you follow the technical advice below.
The DVD is set up so you can watch just the songs, with no breaks between them, or so you can watch the whole movie, with documentary bridge segments leading into each live performance. CHOOSE THE SECOND OPTION! (It is the first option on the menu.)
I made the mistake of choosing to watch just the songs first. I had never seen Aerosmith perform, and had not heard their music in years, so it all seemed to be a jumbled frenetic blur.
But I felt that I must have missed something, and I did have the DVD for the weekend... so the next night I watched the whole movie, as it was meant to be viewed.
Suddenly it all made sense. Each song worked on its own, like pictures in a frame instead of a busy collage, and the pace was perfect. I began to understand what this band is about, and why it has endured for three decades. I liked the movie so much that I watched the whole thing again.
I still cannot grasp exactly how three guitar players and one drummer can build up and sustain such a rich and complex wall of sound behind Steven Tyler's stupendous vocals (and 20,000 screaming fans) -- although seeing them rehearse and record in the the studio -- working up the various parts, then pulling them together -- did help me begin to understand. Other bands need to add keyboards and a horn section, or a fiddle section, plus a few extra percussionists and backup singers, to achieve that sort of high intensity.
* A curious footnote. On the "Willie Nelson & Friends..." concert DVD, noteworthy for its many badly mixed and evidently unrehearsed performances, the very best thing on it, inserted at the end to leave the viewer with a good last impression, is a pair of improbable but brilliant duets sung by Willie Nelson and Steven Tyler, the first in Willie's style, the second in Aerosmith's. Shows what great vocalists both men are (in case you didn't already know).
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