The Blu-ray for Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 takes the viewer straight into the main feature rather than offering the menu. This is quite apropos because once this June 15 headlining performance from the Download Festival begins with a raucous cover of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" the band keeps a rollin', reeling off 20 songs comprised of classic-rock staples, crossover pop hits, and a few deep cuts from across their impressive 40-plus career.
Watching this performance, it's easy to forget the band members (vocals Steven Tyler, lead guitarist Joe Perry, drummer Joey Kramer, bassist Tom Hamilton, and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford) are all in their sixties. The amount of energy they evoke during the hard rockin' numbers makes clear that they still excel at what's perceived as a young man's game, yet only a band with their longevity could have so many popular songs across so many years. One gal, presumably, hits Perry with a bra before they finish the first song, so they've still got their sex appeal as well.
After a string of five singles from their second-act resurgence, including "Love In An Elevator" and "Livin' On The Edge," the setlist finds them blending eras, starting with "Last Child," featuring Whitford on lead guitar. Tyler hugs, mugs, and takes pictures with the kids in front awed by being so close to the legend. The band extended the song and closed it with a sweet groove.
Perry took the mic on “Freedom Fighter” from their last album, 2012’s Music from Another Dimension. Might be the most political song of their discography and it seemed out of place in contrast to the party that was taking place, especially with Tyler's manic antics in full-on rock-star mode rather than court jester.
After "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)," the sounds of the ‘70s close out the night. "Walk This Way" ended the main set with Perry's rock-god guitar riffing more familiar than the song's lyrics. The brief break allowed the crew to get a piano set up at end of the catwalk. Tyler played "Home Tonight" solo and went onto "Dream On." Impressively, he can still reach those high notes when it would be so easy to have the band drown him out.
Hamilton came out again to center stage. Two cell phones in camera mode were stuck to his bass. He began to solo with Kramer playing underneath. Hamilton then veered into the bass line from "Sweet Emotion," sending the crowd wild as Perry joined in on talk box.
Confetti cannons blew and the band, including keyboards/backing vocals Buck Johnson, was introduced collectively, but Tyler didn’t want to go. He gets the crowd to chant “Fuck Curfew,” but it seemed to be a faux rebellion/bit of showmanship since everybody knew, including the guy running the lyrics monitor, they were going to play "Mama Kin."
The video is presented in 1080i/ MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The image looks fantastic with vivid colors and inky blacks. Details are razor sharp and the presentation puts the viewer in the front row. Eagle Rock Entertainment offers LPCM Stereo, as the default option, but I prefer DTS Master Audio 5.1, which delivers a fuller sound with greater clarity if the instruments and ambiance of the crowd.
If there's any doubt why Aerosmith is one of the greatest-selling American rock acts of all time, the Donington 2014 performance should clear up any confusion as will the fact they are still able to deliver the goods this far into their career.
1) Train Kept A-Rollin'
2) Eat The Rich
3) Love In An Elevator
6) Livin' On The Edge
7) Last Child
8) Freedom Fighter
9) Same Old Song And Dance
10) Janie's Got A Gun
11) Toys In The Attic
12) I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
13) No More No More
14) Come Together
15) Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
16) Walk This Way
17) Home Tonight
18) Dream On
19) Sweet Emotion
20) Mama Kin
Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 is available as Blu-ray+2CD, DVD+2CD, DVD+3LP and on all digital formats