Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)

As we mentioned in the prior post on ‘Classics Live!’, the band Aerosmith had reunited with Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and went out on tour to celebrate the reunion. That tour was the Back in the Saddle Tour. The band had been on Columbia Records, but jumped ship and signed with Geffen Records in hopes of getting back in the good graces of the buying public. They planned out and released their comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’ with little fanfare at least that was until they were on the Run DMC cover of their song “Walk This Way”. That combination of Hip Hop and Rock joining together and being celebrated so much on MTV brought them back in to the limelight.

This new found fame was great for Columbia Records because the bands new deal with Geffen still allowed Columbia to release material they owned of the band, which was a lot. Columbia took full advantage of this opportunity and the first release was a live compilation called ‘Classics Live!’ in April 1986. This time around in June 1987, a little over a year later, Columbia released ‘Classics Live! II’.

This time around the album is mostly one show which was the New Year’s Eve show at Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, December 31, 1984. It had all five original members back in action. There are two additional songs from other shows, but like the other songs, it is the full gang back together. Nice thing is there are no repeats songs from ‘Classics Live!’ and four of the song titles were not on ‘Live! Bootleg’. There are just 8 songs like before so it isn’t a full show. It is purely a money grab by Columbia, but as a collector, I don’t care. I’ll take it. Plus, it would be 11 years before we get another live album from the band which we will get to eventually.

The album kicks off with “Back in the Saddle” and is from the New Years Even show on December 31, 1984 at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. The classic line-up in all its drugged out glory. This one is pretty good, lots of energy, a great rocking song and the band sounded good. At the end of the song the wish Tom Hamilton a happy birthday with the crowd joining in for all the fun. The good thing about this album is that so many songs are from that show and it keeps a little consistency with it. The band goes in to “Walk This Way” next and this was before the big Run DMC cover. Stephen’s vocals are a little rough around the edges and as much as he tries to hit those high notes, the drugs probably hinder the full proper effect.

One of the big treats on here is the next song “Movin’ Out” which is an old Aerosmith song and the first time a live version had been released of the song I believe. It is off their debut album and glad they pulled this one out of moth balls as it usually only got played once per tour. It is the first song by Aerosmith and the first Stephen had written with Joe Perry. It is a great blues track and I do enjoy this one. Next up is “Draw the Line” from the California Jam Festival in Ontario, California on March 18, 1978. The do blend it in nicely with other show to make it seem seamless. When Stephen goes all nuts at the end with the high pitched squealing it is a little over-the-top and not quite perfect, but still a little fun. The song overall though is a little dull and missing some energy.

Then we are back to two songs from the New Year’s Eve show. First up is “Same Old Song And Dance” and that opening riff gets the crowd into a frenzy. The song is a little sloppy and Steven is screaming a lot and you get past that, it is still a decent version and since we didn’t have this one on Live! Bootleg, I’ll take what I can get. Next up is “Last Child” and it really has some good energy and riffage going on with it. I’ve always liked this one so that helps as well.

Another big treat on here is “Let the Music Do the Talking” off their ‘Done with Mirrors’ album. It was from the March 12, 1986 show at Worcester Centrum in Worcester, MA. I am surprised they got this song since it would’ve been after Aerosmith left Columbia for Geffen, but must’ve been part of the deal that kept them able to release music. This is such a rocking track and they give it them all. Heck, Steven sounds a little winded at this point, but they all still attack it. And lastly, one more song from the New Year’s Even show. To end the album we get “Toys in the Attic” which is one of my favs. The song is a screamer to close with it as the song’s chorus is just so catchy and fun. Coming off the previous song they need another powerhouse song to match and they got it with this.

As I said on the ‘Classics Live!’ review, yes, this is a complete money grab from Columbia who no longer had Aerosmith on their label…so you can’t really blame them…but it is still a great collection that is equal to or better than the first one. It is always nice to get a few songs that were not on ‘Live! Bootleg’ and especially one from an album that wasn’t even under Columbia with “Let The Music Do The Talking”. There are some cool moments and the sound is really good as well even if they were still heavy on the drugs for most of these tracks. My Overall Score is 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as production wise, they did good on blending the songs together as if one show, there are 4 songs not previously released live in any version and all I know is I do like it and will pull it out again especially when I’m on a live kick with Aerosmith.

UP NEXT: ‘PERMANENT VACATION’ (1987)

THE AEROSMITH COLLECTION SERIES:

  1. ‘Aerosmith’ (1973)
  2. ‘Get Your Wings’ (1974)
  3. ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975)
  4. ‘Rocks’ (1976)
  5. ‘Draw the Line’ (1977)
  6. ‘Live! Bootleg’ (1978)
  7. Night in the Ruts’ (1979)
  8. ‘Greatest Hits’ (1980)
  9. ‘Rock in a Hard Place’ (1982)
  10. ‘Done With Mirrors’ (1985)
  11. Run DMC – “Walk This Way” 12″ Single (1986)
  12. ‘Classics Live!’ (1986)
  13. ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987)

42 thoughts on “Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)

  1. next week you’ll come back to studio’s albums, I can’t wait. I hate live albums which aren’t double albums (at least in vinyl). It’s too short when there’s only 8 or 9 songs.For me It’s better when there’s 16/19 songs.

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  2. I used to see these around all the time back in the day but I never took the occasion to pick them up. Might be something I snag up someday if I’m thinking about it, sounds as though they’re at least worth a listen.

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  3. I think the NY songs are surprisingly good considering how…. loose they must have been as performers at the time. It would be good to get a full-show live album from either of their career-peak eras. A Little South of Sanity captures the full bombast of their second-run peak but feels similarly disjointed coming from multiple concerts and even years. Then again I’d be surprised if anyone on their team in the early years had the presence to record full shows. I’ve a semi-official live DVD from the Pump tour and that’s pretty good. They were great in their day as a live act

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    1. I hate releases that are pieced together usually unless they can make it flow like it was a full show. Then it ain’t so bad. They just released that RSD release of the band’s earliest ever live recordings which is great. I am hoping they have more stuff like that out there.

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      1. Yeah – I’m curious what’ll come of their new agreement with UMG. That’s everything ever put to tape by the band in one ‘house’ so we could get some more archival stuff

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  4. not sure if I have this or not. Think it was last week that I listened to other Aero live album Rockin’ the Joint. Draw the line, same old, walk this way were on that one too.

    For now I’ve gone country like Steven and I’m listening to Ween 12 golden country greats.

    Will the solo albums be included into the series too?

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  5. A cash grab by the bands former managers. I bought this but with Aero it always boils down to Live Bootleg and the Done Live With Mirrors album. Good set list though on this one

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  6. At least this release didn’t repeat any songs from the first ‘Classics Live!’ album, so that’s cool! I don’t know why, but I thought the band died down on the drugs when Joe Perry returned to the band. But I don’t know much about Aerosmith, so clearly I’m wrong!

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