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Dick Carruthers and Jeff Claire
Aerosmith (Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford)
Writing Credits:

Aerosmith's live movie was shot during their headline appearance in 2014 and later shown in cinemas across the world.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital Stereo
English DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/4/2015

• 2 CD Version of Concert
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Aerosmith: Rocks Donington (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 4, 2015)

Now 45 years into their existence, who would’ve believed that Aerosmith would still be together in 2015 – and with all the original members still involved? Given the excesses of their youths, who would’ve believed all five original members would be alive in 2015, much less active?

Still on the road, Aerosmith headlined one day of the hard rock-oriented Download Festival at England’s Donington Park. As expected, the band’s 20-song setlist represents a mix of eras, though it emphasizes the older material. 2012’s Music from Another Dimension! - Aerosmith’s first album of new material since 2001’s Just Push Play - provides only one song: “Freedom Fighter”, which also becomes the sole moment in which guitarist Joe Perry gets to take a lead vocal.

Otherwise it’s all Steven Tyler and all hits. “Dream On” and “Mama Kin” come from the band’s self-titled 1973 debut, and 1974’s Get Your Wings offers “Same Old Song and Dance” and “Train Kept A-Rollin’”.

1975’s classic Toys in the Attic brings us “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, “No More No More” and the title song, while 1976’s Rocks - another classic – offers “Last Child” and “Home Tonight”. Our last effort from the 1970s comes via Aerosmith’s cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together”; it originally appeared on the soundtrack to 1978’s ill-fated Sgt. Pepper’s movie.

From there we leap all the way to 1987’s big comeback album Permanent Vacation, as it brings us “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”. 1989’s even more successful Pump delivers “Love In an Elevator” and “Janie’s Got A Gun”.

As we round out the band’s discography, 1993’s Get A Grip provides “Eat the Rich”, “Livin’ on the Edge” and “Cryin’”. 1998’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” comes from the Armageddon soundtrack, and “Jaded” – the band’s last hit single – stems from the aforementioned Just Push Play.

Though the set obviously favors the 70s, it seems fairly well-balanced. Aerosmith enjoyed a pretty nice resurgence in the late 80s through the late 90s, and Donington represents that reasonably well.

Does the DVD show a band with much left to give, though? Yeah, I think it does. No one expects Aerosmith circa 2014 to be the same band they were 40 – or even 20 – years ago. Ala the Stones or the Who, they exist mostly to tour behind their oldies. When an otherwise active band takes 11 years between original albums, that’s a sign they’re not going to be much of a creative force.

But I have no problem with Aerosmith’s choice to remain active on the road, even as a quote-unquote “oldies band”. While I think it’d be good if they tried to stay more relevant musically, if they want to enjoy the fruits of their labor and entertain people with their ample catalog of songs, I say they should go for it.

Especially if they can continue to play well. I won’t call Donington a great performance, but I think it’s a good one. Steven Tyler still musters mostly solid vocals, and other than occasional hiccups, the band sounds fine. They crank through the set with energy and enthusiasm.

As a concert, I like Donington, but as a video presentation, it loses points due to visual choices. Apparently directors Dick Carruthers and Jeff Claire thought Aerosmith lacked the flair they wanted, so they went nuts with the editing. Donington cuts like there’s no tomorrow, and this occurs during the vast majority of the program. The rapid-fire editing makes it tough to really absorb the performance and it becomes a distraction.

Despite that issue, I still like Donington. It shows Aerosmith in good form and turns into a mostly entertaining run through their catalog.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was an inconsistent presentation.

The biggest concern came from various forms of interference. Many examples of jagged edges and moiré effects cropped up through the show, and these created more than a few distractions.

Otherwise, Donington tended to look fairly good. Sharpness seemed more than acceptable – I guess. With so much quick-cutting, the image rarely remained constant enough for me to judge delineation. Still, the elements seemed to be pretty concise within the limits of SD-DVD.

Colors appeared peppy. The show featured a decent array of hues, and they showed nice vivacity. Blacks were reasonably dense, and shadows offered reasonable delineation. The prominence of the jaggies and shimmering made this a “C+” image, but it still could be fairly attractive.

On this DVD, we got both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes. The pair sounded more alike than different, though I thought the DTS track worked a little better. I’ll discuss it first and then cover how it differed from the DD mix.

The soundscape offered a broad, immersive sense of the music. Donington expanded the usual concert horizons to a mild degree. Much of the time, it focused on stereo presence in the front and used the rears for crowd noise and reinforcement of the music, but some unique instrumentation occasionally popped up from the back channels. This occurred infrequently enough that it didn’t turn into a distracting gimmick.

Audio quality appeared positive. Vocals were warm and concise, while various instruments showed appropriate sting and bite. Bass could’ve been a bit warmer but low-end was still workable.

What changed for the DD mix? I thought stereo separation in the front seemed less effective for the Dolby track. While the DTS edition offered clean placement of the guitars – Whitford on the left, Perry on the right – this wasn’t as distinct in the DD version.

The DTS track also seemed a bit warmer and fuller, though the two were very similar in that regard. It was mostly the more distinctive soundfield that made me prefer the DTS mix.

No extras pop up on the DVD itself, but the package does include a CD version of the concert. This spreads across two discs and includes the full setlist.

We also find a 20-page booklet. It includes photos as well as an essay from Rolling Stone writer David Wild. This adds a little value to the set, though Wild’s text seems awfully gushy.

Decades into their existence, Aerosmith can still put on a good show, as we see in Rocks Donington 2014. The concert displays the band in fine form, though the editing choices can become a drawback. The DVD provides positive audio along with average picture and a few supplements. Aerosmith fans will want to give Donington a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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