[Review] Aerosmith: Live! Bootleg (1978)

A double-album live exclamation point at the end of Aerosmith’s classic period.

Kronomyth 6.0: Aerosmith cums alive.

Aerosmith, cookin’, puts the boots on the label. Critics cooked it anyway, called it raw and cartoonish. Maybe they were fed up with Aerosmith. In 1976 the boys were sacred cows. In 1979 they were hamburger. But in 1978 I was still Aerosmitten. “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” “Last Child” and “Sweet Emotion” by any name (live or studio) still smelled as sweet to me. How could I resist a double elping that had all of them? Couldn’t, didn’t, never regretted it.

After Toys in the Attic and Rocks, this is my favorite from them. Yeah, I know that the new guard were inching them out: Dire Straits, The Cars, The Police. I owned a radio. But pick the story up at side two (“Last Child”) and tell me they don’t stand a foot taller than everyone else. That’s what makes the negative reviews so confounding. You wouldn’t point neophytes to Queen’s Live Killers or Wings Over America (I hope) because they don’t best bespeak the bands. But how could you not be an Aerosmith fan after listening to Live! Bootleg?

The recording quality is right in line with what you’d expect from an Aerosmith live album (the bootleg packaging has proved a red herring for some). A pair of tracks from 1973 (“I Ain’t Got You,” “Mother Popcorn”) may have beat the boots, but the rest of the tracks form a proper 1977-78 tour document. So, forget what you’ve read. The band may have been falling apart, but Live! Bootleg comes together with the hits, the better album tracks (“Lord of the Thighs,” “Sick As A Dog”) and a great version of “Chip Away The Stone.”

Original 2LP version

A1.Back in the Saddle (Steven Tyler/Joe Perry) (4:11)
A2. Sweet Emotion (Steven Tyler/Tom Hamilton) (4:43)
A3. Lord of the Thighs (Steven Tyler) (7:13)
A4. Toys in the Attic (Steven Tyler/Joe Perry) (3:45)
B1. Last Child (Steven Tyler/Brad Whitford) (3:03)
B2. Come Together (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) (4:50)
B3. Walk This Way (Steven Tyler/Joe Perry) (3:35)
B4. Sick as a Dog (Steven Tyler/Tom Hamilton) (4:35)
C1. Dream On (Steven Tyler) (4:31)
C2. Chip Away the Stone (Richard Supa) (4:00)
C3. Sight for Sore Eyes (Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Jack Douglas/David Johansen) (3:13)
C4. Mama Kin (Steven Tyler) (3:42)
C5. S.O.S. (Steven Tyler) (2:39)
D1. I Ain’t Got You (Calvin Carter) (4:00)
D2. Mother Popcorn (James Brown/Alfred Ellis) (6:49)
D3. Train Kept a Rollin’ (Tiny Bradshaw/Lois Mann/Howard Kay) / Strangers in the Night (Bert Kaempfert/Eddie Snyder/Charles Singleton) (9:49)

All songs arranged by Aerosmith and Jack Douglas.

The Players

Tom Hamilton (bass guitar), Joey Kramer (drums, percussion), Joe Perry (guitar), Steven Tyler (lead vocals, harmonica), Brad Whitford (guitar) with Mark Radice (keyboards and backing vocals), David Woodford (saxophone on D2). Produced by Jack Douglas and Aerosmith; engineered by Lee DeCarlo, Jack Douglas, Jay Messina; executive producers: David Krebs & Steve Leber.

The Pictures

Photography by Karen Lesser, Ron Pownall, Steve Smith, Aaron Rapoport, Barry Levine. Design & art direction by Kosh.

The Plastic

Released on 2LP in October 1978 in the US (Columbia, PC2 35564), the UK (CBS, CBS 88325), Brazil (CBS, 1381067), Japan (Sony, 40AP-1170/1) and the Netherlands (CBS, CBS-451129) with gatefold cover and picture sleeves. Reached #13 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in Australia and Germany (CBS, 466733).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in 2003 in Europe (CBS, 474967).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in 2004 in Japan (Sony, MHCP-322) with poster.

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