Aerosmith have existed as a band since 1970 and have had more of their fair share of ups and downs since then. To be fair this was probably due to their prodigious consumption of drugs, a demon which they finally managed to conquer in 1986. This in turn affected their earlier live performances, with Steven Tyler often passing out on stage. By the time this performance was recorded in 2002, the drug-free version of Aerosmith had long since perfected the art of turning out flawless live sets. Despite the fact that the band are all now in their '50's they can produce these near-perfect performances and still rock out with an energy of a band half their age. Indeed despite their recorded output suffering a distinct, if slow, commercial and critical decline, there seems to be no let up in the standard of their live work. This concert catches them before an audience a fraction of the size of their usual stadium crowd. It also sees them performing some seldom heard live numbers, although there are still a couple of live favorites as you would expect. Starting procedings is "Beyond Beautiful", probably one of the better songs from 2001's "Just Push Play", an album somewhat derided by Aerosmith traditionalists. It doesn't seem out of place here amongst the older tunes and is a fine statement of intent. Then we hear some classic '70's Aerosmith in the form of "Same Old Song And Dance", which has lost none of it's hip shaking swagger. Indeed this performance is decidedly heavy on numbers from their '70's back catalogue, but is none the worse for that. This includes a rare outing of "No More, No More" and the first recorded live appearance of "Seasons Of Wither". There are also versions of "Big Ten Inch Record", "Train Kept A Rollin'" and the essential "Walk This Way". However,if you are looking for "Love In An Elevator", you will be disappointed, indeed this performance ignores all of the band's commercial purple patch of the late 80's and 90's, with the sole exception of the inclusion of Aerosmith's biggest hit "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" (lighters aloft please...). Those interested in hearing mid-era Aerosmith live staples can find them on the previously released double live album "A Little South Of Sanity". The three undoubted highlights of the "Rockin' The Joint" performance are as follows: Suprisingly one of them is a version of a song from the then current "Just Push Play" album - "Light Inside" is easily the hardest, heaviest thing the band have done in years, but it's fair to say they nail it live, indeed it fairly rips along, with bassist Tom Hamilton managing to reproduce the frenetic bass-line of the recorded item. "Rattlesnake Shake" on the other hand, is one of the band's earliest performed songs and listening to them jamming together, it's clear they still relish playing this Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac cover. Now we come to the stand-out track. "Draw The Line" originally featured on the 1977 album of the same name, and since then has evolved each time it's performed live, so that there are already a number of live versions available elsewhere. This version seems to top them all, it literally grinds along and Joe Perry's guitar work is exceptional, indeed if you watch the performance on the DVD side he also looks disgustingly fit and healthy for a man of his age with such a chequered past, and throws himself into the performance with abandon, leading the song into a thrilling climax.
Throughout this concert, Aerosmith's performance is top notch, Steven Tyler's voice does, to use a cliche, get better with age, and the rest of them are as tight a unit as you would expect of a band that have performed together as long as they have. The only criticism that could be levelled is that perhaps, it's not quite long enough, but then as this is one of the first of the recently developed "Dual Discs" there is the DVD side which features extra tracks, some live visual performances and the concert audio-only in enhanced stereo so perhaps there is enough to satisfy most fans. The band themselves have indicated that they may not be touring for much longer, because they feel they won't be able to give their live shows the energy they deserve as they become older, so this may be the last live recorded output the band releases. If that is the case, then they can be proud to have gone out on such a high note.