1974 (Mistral MM 9109)
Walking The Dog – Schoolboy ( S.O.S. Too Bad ) – Somebody / Big Ten Inch Record / Sweet Emotion / Dream On / Write Me A Letter / Walk This Way / No More, No More – Same Old Song & Dance / Train Kept A-Rollin’ (58:22)
There seems to be some confusion as to the contents of this disk – A few fans have speculated that this could be a hybrid of tracks from 1974 ( Possibly ) or a mixture of tracks from the Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO, on the 18th of September 1975 with a few of the tracks from Central Park, August 1975 thrown in. That could justifiably be the only black mark on this release as it’s a very, very strong if crunchy soundboard recording that picks up almost every nuance from the stage ( Although a few odd mixes have some of the soloing far too down in the mix for my liking while Stephen’s voice is a touch loud sometimes. ) with just a fraction of audience noise keeping the recording from falling in to a ‘dry’ mix.
As with most of Aerosmith’s shows the band are rough & ready but never in a smashed-off-of-their-faces way & it’s this quality that keeps the listening interesting.
The tape cuts off a little of “Walking The Dog” so this throws us straight in to the brunt of the piece. It’s almost shocking to hear after listening to hundreds of shows or rehearsals which usually start with a little crowd noise & then build this one drops straight in like a piano dropped from the ceiling. The benefit is that it’s a boot straight in to the fury of the show with little let up until the end.
The first medley showcases to a full extent the virtuosity & excitement of the bands playing as they wing through the three songs with not a breath taken before the next catches up with it in one big, near nine minute, burst.
A short break for the band allows for a breather as Stephen announces “Big Ten Inch” as a song “Written by Mr. Tom Hamilton here, the blonde cat here, and although he’ll never admit it, he’s got one up on a lot of us.” The band then pummel through this track with Joey’s bass drum an unexpected but pleasant visitor. As standard, the solo’s from Brad Whitford & Joe Perry add more segments to the track. Stephen really starts to manipulate his voice towards the end as he strangulates his words & wrings straight through the octaves.
‘Dream On’ from the bands debut is given a welcome airing too. It is a pretty standard rendition clocking in at the exact length as is featured on the bands album too. The following song is dedicated to “All you wrist slap, back handed, left handed, pull your cock off”. ‘Write Me A Letter’ ups the heat a little more & gives Stephen the first chance to grasp his harp. The tough, gravily rhythm is aided by the almost unrelenting soloing throughout.
The bands break through hit “Walk This Way” features the talk box that Joe first introduced to Aerosmith on “Sweet Emotion”. This is, of course, the ‘traditional’ version of this track with the long guitar solo leading out the song. Despite the fast rapped vocal Tyler has no troubles reciting them & he completely wings it through out.
“No More, No More / Same Old Song And Dance” is dedicated to Patti Hurst who “Bit the trail tonight but will go on forever” before Stephen relents on his political stance & Joe Perry steps in & decides that the song should be dedicated to his dope stash. There is a slight pause between the tracks but this was evidently not discernible in the mastering process so the tracks have been added together as one long track instead. To be fair, the drive of the two is almost the same but maybe the CD was produced without a true fans supervision.
The disk winds up on the thrilling, 17 minute version of Tiny Bradshaw’s “Train Kept A-Rollin'” A long that is as legendary in it’s length as it is for the songs that it checks. The tracks begins & treks through a couple of verses & then enters in to a long drum solo by Joey which speeds up towards the end & the song drops back in to the fast section’s heavy metal mode. The songs that are mentioned in the coda are the Batman theme & the Peter Gunn theme while also featuring nods to ‘Pandora’s box’, ‘Movin’ Out’ & ‘Think About It’.
It has to be said that for attention to detail there are better Aerosmith boots that you could pick up but for reliability & sound there can’t be this many that will offer the grand, sound board experience. If you can find it, it’s certainly worth a listen.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)