As these seem to have been sprung on the band as a bit of a post-label change surprise, and they don’t really merit a full review of their own, April Fool’s Day seems like as good a time as any to acknowledge the existence of Classics Live and Classics Live II. Reviewing this pair is fairly simple: they are live albums, assembled by Columbia Records in the wake of Aerosmith’s signing with Geffen for Done with Mirrors. Both are decent, neither is great, the second is better than the first, and half the time I forget that either one of ‘em exists.
In his review of Classics Live II, noted rock critic Robert Christgau refers to these albums as Corporate Revenge I and II, and I think that’s about the long and short of it. For the record, I love Christgau as a writer, but agree with his opinions only about a third of the time. On this one, though, he’s right on the money: II is the one to acquire if you’re only bothering with one; spryer than I’d ever expected it to be, actually.
Still, both of these are the sort of albums rendered utterly obsolete by the proliferation of free bootlegs on the internet. That’s no fault of the albums or the performances contained therein, either: it’s simply a reflection of the evolution of technology. I’ve said it before, and I’ll suggest that you Google it again: BOSTON MUSIC HALL,1978. Those, friends, are some classics live.