AEROSMITH: CLASSICS LIVE II (1987)
1) Back In The Saddle; 2) Walk This Way; 3) Movin' Out; 4) Draw The Line; 5) Same Old Song And Dance; 6) Last Child; 7) Let The Music Do The Talking; 8) Toys In The Attic.
The second volume in this odd series easily trumps the first one in terms of quality, but somewhat baffles the mind in terms of coherence. Most of the tracks are from a December 31, 1984 show (coinciding with Tom Hamilton's birthday, so there is no escape from the obligatory h-b-t-y with Tyler directing the audience) — most, that is, with the exception of 'Let The Music Do The Talking', recorded around two years later, and 'Draw The Line', recorded around six years earlier. So, technically, this is all the same band with all the same five members, but representing three entirely different life stages — the drugged-out pre-breakthrough, the still drugged-out reunion, and the cleaned-up, er, post-reunion.
The final product might have gained better credibility had Columbia simply released the entire show from 1984; but, apparently, the point was not to replicate any of the «classics» from the previous volume, so here we are with another bunch of hits (but what the hell is 'Movin' Out' doing among them?) hastily glued together. Another waste of vinyl?
Perhaps, but it still kicks ass. As the band was getting ready to enter the «Lite» stage of their career, the live performances were taking on a special appeal. What I mean is, even twenty years after the completion of the sellout, Aerosmith were still phenomenal onstage when performing the old classics; watch any live version of 'Back In The Saddle' from the early XXIst century and it does not take much to understand that the Tyler/Perry duo have kept their brawn and grit as fine as, or, perhaps, even finer than the Jagger/Richards pair. So how could they go wrong in the 1980s — reunited, refired, and with Tyler's voice so far free from the pranks of old age?
Classics Live II certainly rocks. There is not much need for it on the part of anybody who already owns Live Bootleg, but, for the record, 'Back In The Saddle' is way superior to the 1978 version (all the screaming is carried off with honor, and Perry never messes up the riff), 'Walk This Way' is devoid of the talkbox mutation (provided you hated the talkbox in the first place), and the collective singing on 'Toys In The Attic' generally manages to stay on key (a very frequent problem for this particular number). These are the few tempting moments. The rest is just regular professional entertainment. It won't blow the pants off any regular Aerosmith fan — but, inasmuch as pure joy is concerned, it is miles better than Permanent Vacation.