Posted on January 14, 2010 -
The reason I say this is confusing is because there are multiple versions of this available and also more than one format. We have the standard CD version, the Dualdisc version (more on that format in a minute), an import version that contains track(s) not on the American release (“Toys In The Attic”), and the Target versions, where both the CD and Dualdisc sold at Target stores contain two bonus tracks only available supposedly from Target. The bonus tracks are “Living On The Edge” and “What It Takes”, both of which are worth having as they sound good and it doesn’t hurt that the Target versions cost $2 (Dualdisc) and $4 (CD) less than elsewhere. With all that said, the music is excellent throughout. Aerosmith sound in fine form and throw in some nice older selections that haven’t been heard on any other live album they have released (“No More No More”, “Seasons Of Wither”, etc.) The video footage, which includes four songs (two of which are not included on the CD side – “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotion”), is excellent. Joe Perry changes guitars for every song, Steven’s voice is in good form, and Whitford, Hamilton & Kramer lock the rhythm down tight and they all look like they are having fun doing so. It’s a shame that they didn’t just release the whole show on DVD. One complaint, and this is why it only gets 4 stars, is the Dualdisc format. This is one of several I have purchased (another being the Joe Perry solo album) that has some sort of problem playing correctly. They all have a little sticker with writing so small you can hardly read it that states the CD side may not/will not play on all CD players. Sadly, for me, this is true on both of my players (which are only a couple of years old). Dualdiscs do not have any specifications they have to adhere to (unlike CD and DVD) so they tend to vary in thickness which can cause reading errors on some players. Now I know you may think “buy the CD then”, but if you buy the CD, you don’t have access to the video footage. That leaves the choice of buying both formats in order to get all the music or trying to buy a new player that may or may not play the Dualdiscs since they have no predetermined standard that has to be adhered to for universal use. I guess my point is, why do the record companies keep issuing things in this format if there is no standard to insure it will work properly on all players? At least in some cases, you do have a choice, such as the Aerosmith—Joe Perry only came in Dualdisc format, as did Bruce Springsteen’s last release. I realize that they all have the complete audio on the DVD side also, but that doesn’t help if your only option happens to be a CD player or if you want to listen to just the music in your car or on a Discman since they have problems playing the CD side. Why not just issue a regular version of the CD and a limited edition with a bonus DVD and charge a little more for that? It’s not like that hasn’t been done before. For that matter, give us the bonus DVD content for free—it’s not like CD prices aren’t high enough as is. Overall rating – audio, video and performance – 5 stars minus 1 star for the format and my apologies for using this review as a soapbox to bash Dualdiscs, but I felt it should be said.