Aerosmith: Rock of the Rising Sun

Aerosmith: Rock of the Rising Sun (directed and edited by Casey Tebo) chronicles Aerosmith’s tour of Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. It comes as no surprise that the band still sounds fantastic. The documented footage does a good job of giving each member of the band at least one moment in the spot light, but it’s no secret that Steve Tyler, as usual, is the star of the show. Even in his sixties the man is still like a manic cartoon animal out of a Chuck Jones short brought to life not only on the stage but in every moment he spends on camera. The words that come out of his mouth even in casual conversation are simultaneously non-sensical and brilliant, forcing the rest of the band, unfortunately, to play the straight man, but that’s why he’s the front man.
The actual footage of the concerts does an excellent job of showcasing the performance, highlighting each band member when the time comes for them to let loose on their respective instruments. One particularly memorable moment featured an elaborate drum solo by Joey Kramer, at one point throwing his drum sticks into the audience and continuing the solo with hands (and occasionally his head).
The editing of the footage also does a great job of capturing a viewers attention, utilizing numerous fade transitions adding an element of visual artistry to the already electric performance of the band.
Off the stage the film crew follows the band through backstage interviews (Several of which analyzed the massive popularity of Aerosmith in Japan), them mingling with fans on the street and taking pictures ,taking a trip to Tokyo Disneyland along with various landmarks and sites showcasing the natural beauty of Japan. There was one moment where they were visiting a Hiroshima memorial site, intercut with of WWII fighter planes and followed by the band’s performance of “Livin’ on the Edge”…a little on the nose if you listen to lyrics but forgivable given the context under which they’re touring.
All in all it was a tremendously enjoyable experience for long times fans of Aerosmith, providing show stopping Rock performances, a backstage look at a Rock ‘N’ Roll family 40+ years in the making, as well as brief journey through Japan in a troubling time where it’s citizens could use a little more “Sweet Emotion” in their lives.

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