Recorded live in Las Vegas on November 25, 1977 and released in 1978, 5 the Hard Way is a bootleg LP that only a completist would want. The main problem is the disappointing sound quality -- this show was probably taped using a mono home recorder, and it lives up to the stereotype of 1970s bootlegs having inferior sound. Aerosmith's performances, however, are generally enjoyable, ranging from a few of the stronger tunes from 1977's Draw the Line (including "Get It Up," "I Wanna Know Why," and the title song) to favorites from Aerosmith's four previous studio albums. It's just as well that 5 the Hard Way doesn't emphasize songs from Draw the Line, for while that album certainly had its moments, it was uneven and fell short of the overall excellence of Toys in the Attic, Rocks, and Get Your Wings. And as far as bootleg LPs go, 5 the Hard Way isn't in a class with Look Homeward Angel or Rock This Way, two of the best-sounding Aerosmith bootlegs from that decade. Again, 5 the Hard Way is strictly for diehard collectors.
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