[Album Review] “A Little South of Sanity” – Aerosmith

A Little South of Sanity - AerosmithAlbum Title: A Little South of Sanity
Artist: Aerosmith
Year: 1998
Running Time: 115m 41s

Track listing: [DISC 1] 1 Eat The Rich; 2 Love In An Elevator; 3 Falling In Love (is Hard on the Knees); 4 Same Old Song and Dance; 5 Hole In My Soul; 6 Monkey On My Bank; 7 Livin on the Edge; 8 Cryin; 9 Rag Doll; 10 Angel; 11 Janie’s Got a Gun; 12 Amazing  [DISC 2] 1 Back in the Saddle; 2 Last Child; 3 The Other Side; 4 Walk On Down; 5 Dream On; 6 Crazy; 7 Mama Kin; 8 Walk This Way; 9 Dude (Looks Like a Lady); 10 What It Takes; 11 Sweet Emotion

Aerosmith have long one been one of the finest live bands on the circuit. Of course, that may not have quite been the case in the late seventies when many shows were abandoned, postponed or cancelled due to Steven Tyler’s constant on-stage collapses and drug-induced incoherent babbling. This double live album covers the entire 25 year career of the band and captures a typical set list from start to finish. The seamless performance has been lifted from several shows from the last two tours.

It’s a triple-whammy of rockers to start us off. The mediocre 1993 opener ‘Eat The Rich’ doesn’t sound too bad and it’s followed by raunch-classic, ‘Love in an Elevator’ and the horn-ridden 1997 single, ‘Falling in Love’. There’s a throw back to 1974 with the classic ‘Same Old Song and Dance’ and an average version of the ‘Dream On’-esque, ‘Hole in my Soul’.

The best tracks on the first CD are the brilliant ‘Monkey On My Back’ – a song that struggled to make the cut for the “Pump” album, but has managed to maintain a regular spot on the set list and a place on the ‘semi-classic’ list of Aero-tracks – and the sassy 1987 single, ‘Rag Doll’, which is performed with extra funk…hold the ennui.

‘Angel’, ‘Janie’ and ‘Amazing’ round off the first CD in a rather low key manner. Not sure I’d place any of them in my dream Aerosmith show, as all three sound better in the studio.

Long-time fans will enjoy the second disc more. ‘Back in the Saddle’ and ‘Last Child’ are both rousingly performed and other seventies classics, ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Mama Kin’ and ‘Sweet Emotion’ sound as fresh and exciting today as they must have 20-odd years ago. There are plenty of other hits here like ‘Dude’, ‘What It Takes’ and ‘Crazy’ and Joe Perry grabs the mic for a rendition of his 1993 tune, ‘Walk On Down’ – not the worlds greatest singer but he does an average song reasonable justice all the same.

It’s a super collection of tunes but live albums are generally just interesting diversions, and this one is no different. The studio versions are the ones I will nearly always turn back to. A live show is all about crowd participation and the whole ambiance of ‘being there’. Unfortunately, a CD does not quite give the same feeling – unless you have a great imagination…


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