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Casey Tebo
Aerosmith (Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford)
Writing Credits:

A concert film event.

In March 2011 Japan was beset by a huge earthquake, a monstrous tsunami and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. In the autumn of 2011, despite advice to the contrary, Aerosmith brought their "Back On The Road" tour to Japan, a country with which they'd always had a special relationship. The Japanese fans came out in their droves and Aerosmith responded with some of the finest gigs of their distinguished career. This film follows the band on that tour combining full length live tracks with behind the scenes footage which is at times touching and emotional and at others humorous and insightful. More than anything else it demonstrates the Japanese fans love affair with Aerosmith and their music.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English LPCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 7/23/2013

• Two Bonus Tracks
• Liner Notes


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; 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: Rock For The Rising Sun [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 15, 2013)

After a terrible earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in the spring of 2011, many musical artists worked to raise funds for relief efforts. Aerosmith decided to go to the source and embarked on an eight-show tour of Japan in the fall of 2011.

That trek becomes the focus of Rock for the Rising Sun, a concert video culled from these concerts. A quick online search indicates these shows boasted between 22 and 24 numbers a night, but we only get 17 as part of this main program. 1973’s Aerosmith gives us “Mama Kin” and “Movin’ Out”, while we get “SOS (Too Bad)” and “Train Kept A Rollin’” from 1974’s Get Your Wings.

1975’s Breakout classic Toys in the Attic delivers “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, “No More No More” and the title track. From there 1976’s also-classic Rocks boasts “Last Child” and “Rats in the Cellar”. We find the title track from 1977’s Draw the Line before we skip ahead to 1987’s comeback hit Permanent Vacation and “Hangman Jury”.

1989’s follow-up smash Pump brings us “Love in an Elevator” and “Monkey on My Back”, while we find “Livin’ on the Edge” and “Boogie Man” from 1991’s Get a Grip. We also locate “Listen to the Thunder”, which is just the title given to a Joey Kramer drum solo; it’s not a proper song.

Though most of the program concentrates on the concert stage, it doesn’t totally reside there. We get additional snippets from backstage as well as in various Japanese spots and during promotional spots.

I’ve not seen it in a while, but I think Aerosmith’s prior concert release – 2004’s You Gotta Move - lost major points due to editing. If I recall correctly, it chopped off parts of songs and often placed dialogue on top of performances to become a poor representation of a live show.

Sun indulges more of those tendencies than I’d like, but I don’t think it ever approaches the frustrating messiness of Move. Yeah, it annoys when the program loses parts of intros/conclusions or places dialogue on top of the songs, but this doesn’t happen a ton. Overall, the numbers come across in (essentially) full versions; the exceptions – like an abbreviated “Rats in the Cellar” or a snippet of “Train” over the end credits – irritate but don’t crush the show like they did Move.

Still, I wish Sun stayed solely on the stage and left the other material for a featurette. On their own, these moments can be interesting, especially when we check out rehearsals or go backstage; some good material arrives.

But I do think that kind of stuff would work better as a bonus feature, not part of the main program. I guess bands and directors want to indulge their artsy sides and not make “just another concert video”, but I think this ignores what the viewers desire. Maybe you can find a fan somewhere who complained that he/she got an entire, unedited concert from his/her favorite band, but I doubt it; fans want to see/hear the music, not vaguely related nonsense.

When Sun stays on stage – and doesn’t chop out too much of the music – it does quite well for itself. Because I was a kid in the 1970s, I never saw Aerosmith in their “golden era”; I liked a couple of songs back then, but I’m more of a “second-generation fan” who didn’t really embrace them until after their late-1980s comeback.

This means I didn’t see them live until well into their “senior years” as a band and I can’t compare later-era Aerosmith’s live shows to those from their 1970s creative peak. Usually I feel like I missed out on something because I didn’t see various artists in their heydays; for instance, I’ve enjoyed the Who shows I’ve viewed over the last 30 years, but I know they don’t vaguely compete with the band’s late 1960s/early 1970s performances.

Hearing about Aerosmith’s concerts in the 1970s, though, I’m not quite as sure I missed out on a whole lot. In an era where everyone did drugs, I get the impression Aerosmith did more drugs and let those substances affect their concerts more than most.

This means that while modern-day Aerosmith may be “safer” than the 1970s version, at least you’re more likely to get a good show out of them, and Sun represents a band who can clearly still play. Actually, I was pretty surprised at how good they sounded – not that I expected them to put on a bad show, but I didn’t think they’d have held up as well as they did. (I last saw Aerosmith in person back in 2009 and I honestly can’t remember how they sounded.)

In addition to the good performance, director Casey Patrick Tebo manages an efficient presentation – when he shies away from those non-concert elements, at least. Actually, I don’t object to the way Tebo shows the behind the scenes bits – I’m just not wild that they pop up at all.

While many concert videos wear us out with rapid-fire editing, Tebo keeps things relatively calm. I wouldn’t refer to this as slow, sedate cutting, but the visuals appear at a good pace. We get to actually stick with images long enough to take them in and appreciate them, so we feel like we’ve actually gotten a feel for the band as a concert presence. That might not sound like a big deal, but so many concert videos kill us with crummy editing that I applaud the ones that show some restraint.

All of these elements help make Sun a reasonably satisfying concert program. It comes with too many flaws to earn a high endorsement, but I still like it. Maybe someday we’ll get a genuinely great presentation of an Aerosmith show, but until then, Sun will do.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C-/ Bonus D+

Aerosmith: Rock for the Rising Sun appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Shot on digital video, Sun offered pleasing visuals.

Sharpness looked pretty precise and detailed throughout the show. A few shots showed mild softness, but not on a consistent basis; instead, the majority of the presentation offered nice clarity. I noticed no signs of jagged edges, moiré effects or edge enhancement in this tight presentation. Source flaws and digital artifacting also seemed absent. The show occasionally went for an “artsy” black and white vision with fake grain, but that was a deliberate choice, not an issue with the transfer.

Colors appeared warm and rich. The show featured a fairly natural palette with some colored lighting, and these tones all came across with nice intensity and detail. Black levels were also deep and dense, while shadow detail appeared appropriately heavy but never excessively thick. This was a high-quality representation of the concert.

Unfortunately, I can’t make the same claim for the problematic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sun, as it came with some notable flaws. On the positive side, it used the soundscape well. As one expects from a concert presentation, the forward spectrum dominated and provided nice stereo imaging. The dual guitars got hard-panned to the right and left, which worked well, and drums/vocals came across as more centered, with occasional percussive elements from the side.

That approach fit the concert setting, and the track used the surrounds to reasonable effect. They contributed reinforcement of the music as well as some crowd noise, but they didn’t have much to do. That was fine with me, as the presentation allowed the concert atmosphere to come through in a fairly natural manner.

Unfortunately, audio quality fared much less well. The primary problem came from the compressed nature of the track; even though the Blu-ray went with a lossless option, it sounded like the producers brickwalled this thing and jacked up the loudness. Treble became awfully shrill, especially via the awful-sounding drums; I guess those were cymbals I heard, but they sounded unnaturally harsh and sizzly.

Other elements worked better, but the compression made the experience fatiguing. I had to bail on the show after about half an hour because it wore out my ears; it was tolerable in small doses but tough to take in the long run.

I should note that audio quality varied to some degree; for reasons unknown, some songs seemed more musical than others. For instance, “Toys in the Attic” sounded almost decent. Or maybe the track had fried my ears so much that I couldn’t tell the difference any more, but I did think some numbers were better than others.

Even with those relative high points, this remained a disappointing mix – and you shouldn’t expect superior audio from the disc’s LPCM stereo version. It might’ve been a little less harsh/compressed, but not by much. Both tracks veered toward “ear-bleeders”, and they just narrowly earned “C-“ grades. Honestly, they probably should’ve fallen into “D” territory but I felt the occasional decent-sounding tunes brought them to “C-“ – barely.

In terms of extras, we find two bonus songs. We find “Lick and a Promise” (3:32) from 1976’s Rocks and “One Way Street” (6:47) off of 1973’s Aerosmith. Both provide complete songs and sound good, so they’re welcome additions, though it’s too bad the disc doesn’t include all the tunes not found in the main program; there aren’t that many, so why not toss in the rest?

The package also includes an eight-page booklet. It gives us credits, photos and a short essay about the band and their connection to Japan. It’s a superficial piece but it’s worth a look.

After more than 40 years, Aerosmith can still put on a good concert, as we find from the reasonably satisfying Rock for the Rising Sun. While it indulges in too much non-musical material, it still provides enough enjoyable performance footage to succeed. The Blu-ray comes with pretty good visuals but suffers from shrill audio and only minor supplements. Though I like the live footage, the problems with the sound make this one tough to recommend.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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