Hot on the heels of Classics Live came Classics Live II! Today you can get them together in one set, because they really are companion albums with no overlap between them. All songs here were recorded by the classic lineup of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer, and there are a couple neat surprises in the tracklist.
“Back in the Saddle” always works as an opening track, especially since this one comes from the 1984 Aerosmith reunion tour. They truly were back in the saddle, though just as wasted as ever! It has its sloppy moments and sour notes, but more energy than some of the previous live stuff. This rendition will never be considered a definitive live take of the song, but it does document that oft-forgotten mid-80’s period.
“Walk This Way” opens with the announcement that it was Tom Hamilton’s birthday! That would make it their New Year’s Eve gig in Boston in ’84. Joey’s drums are a little “thuddy” sounding, and I put the blame on producer Paul O’Neill (Savatage) who doesn’t always capture a drum sound to my tastes. “Movin’ Out” is one of my underdog favourites from the first Aerosmith album and I’ll always dig its slow, heavy drawl. It’s so great to hear Tyler sing that familiar ad-lib that he does live: “No-one knows the way but Joe Perry.” Following that is “Draw the Line”, another brilliant classic done live all loosey-goosey. “Same Old Song and Dance” follows that same tradition, with a teasing opening to make the crowd go nuts.
“Last Child” brings the funk as always, but my favourite has to be “Let the Music Do the Talking”. Although it was recorded before Done With Mirrors, this was the first new Aerosmith song to get a live release. Of course it’s technically a Joe Perry Project song, but Aerosmith’s version kicks that one in the ass. This live one is pretty awesome. Closing the album with “Toys in the Attic” guarantees that the ending is just as exciting as the beginning. Killer version.
The coolest thing to me about Classics Live II is that even though it’s called II, it doesn’t sound like a second volume of a live album. Considering that “Walk This Way”, “Back in the Saddle”, “Toys in the Attic” and “Same Old Song and Dance” are all on here, it could easily have been the first volume. It is easily the equal of part I.
AEROSMITH BOX OF FIRE review series:
Disc 1: Aerosmith (1973)
Disc 2: Get Your Wings (1974)
Disc 3: Toys in the Attic (1975)
Disc 4: Rocks (1976)
Disc 5: Draw the Line (1977)
Disc 6: Live! Bootleg (1978)
Disc 7: Night in the Ruts (1979)
Disc 8: Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits (1980)
Disc 9: Rock in a Hard Place (1982)
Disc 10: Classics Live! (1986)
Disc 11: Classics Live! II (1987)