[Album Revew] “Live Bootleg” – Aerosmith

Live Bootleg - AerosmithAlbum Title: Live Bootleg
Artist: Aerosmith
Year: 1978
Running Time: 76m 34s

Track listing: [DISC 1] 1 Back in the Sadlle [1976]; 2 Sweet Emotion [1975]; 3 Lord of the Thighs [1974]; 4 Toys in the Attic [1975]; 5 Last Child [1976]; 6 Come Together [1978]; 7 Walk This Way [1975]; 8 Sick As a Dog [1976]  [DISC 2] 1 Dream On [1973]; 2 Chip Away the Stone [1978]; 3 Sight For Sore Eyes [1977]; 4 Mama Kin [1973]; 5 S.O.S. [1974]; 6 I Ain’t Got You [1978]; 7 Mother Popcorn [1978]; 8 Draw The Line [1977]; 9 Train Kept A Rollin [1974]

Live Bootleg was a tongue-in-cheek effort to beat the bootleggers at their own game. The cover was decidedly amateur looking and came complete with a lovely coffee mug stain. Very good.

Musically, it is absolutely crammed to bursting with classics as you can see from above. The performances here come from a period when Aerosmith were visibly exhausted and suffering the effects of prolonged alcohol and drug abuse. It is fair to say that things don’t really sound as polished as they should for the most part.

‘Back in the Saddle’ is stormingly good and leads straight into the familiar ‘Sweet Emotion’ notes. The latter sounds painful in parts but it is hard to put a good song down you know. ‘Lord of the Thighs’ is patchy enough and Tyler almost disappears such is the strain on his corpse, ‘Toys in the Attic’ is occasionally ad-libbed both vocally and musically almost to it’s detriment but it still comes up smelling of roses and ‘Last Child’ despite Tyler’s drunken rantings manages to remain classic material.

‘Walk this Way’ and ‘Sick as a Dog’ finish up the first disc. ‘Walk this Way’ suffers from the original chorus that plagued the original album version but it only seems that way in retrospect now that we know what the new chorus style sounds like. It is nice to hear the latter in a live format and this pop ditty is performed authoratively although you can’t help seeing the irony when Tyler sings: ‘get your head out of the loo…sick as a dog…’.

A smashing cover of the Lennon/McCartney classic ‘Come Together’ fits in the middle of all this and seems to be the only song that is not performed live in a stadium but rather ‘live’ in a studio with a half dozen studio hands there to applaud it’s execution. Its excellent execution, that is.

Disc 2 starts in familiar territory. ‘Dream On’ is shoddy though with Joe Perry missing notes and Tyler sounding like he has just being drugged (which of course he probably had). ‘Chip Away the Stone’ gets a welcome outing too. Tyler crows about the love he can’t get but he won’t stop till he does: ‘chip away at the stone, I won’t stop till your love is my very own’. ‘Chip…’ is a feelgood band jam and is a band favourite but never actually got onto a studio album.

‘Mama Kin’ is a serious disappointment here. It fades in which is a bad start as the song normally benefits from sneaking up on you when you are not looking and the whole delivery seems lazy from all band members for what is the ultimate in energy and attitude. ‘Draw The Line’ and ‘Train Kept a Rollin’ are as competent as ever and it is also nice to see the inclusion of two songs you might not normally see on an Aerosmith live set, ‘S.O.S.’ and ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’; ‘S.O.S.’ is brilliant with riffs crashing in from here there and everywhere and ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’ is all the better for the crusty delivery that personifies the song anyway.

Two cover versions are included on this disc and were both performed on a radio broadcast in the early 70s. The incredibly cool ‘I Ain’t Got You’ (originally by The Yardbirds) is sassy and funky and James Brown’s ‘Mother Popcorn’ features a mature performance from Tyler.

This is without doubt a little bit patchy but is worth catching for the rare covers and the songs you will probably never see or hear Aerosmith perform live again.


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