Review by James Lindorf
Momentum Pictures released the new hybrid concert film and documentary, Steven Tyler: Out on a Limb, on VOD and Digital HD on May 15, 2018. The film directed by longtime Tyler collaborator Casey Tebo is one part intimate look at Tyler, one part love letter to the Nashville music scene and one part concert footage.
I liked Tebo’s artistic choice of filming the behind the scenes moments with Tyler in black and white. The lack of color adds to the feeling of being welcomed into a world much like your own but still very different. Tyler is a person, so he has more in common with anyone on the street than he doesn’t, he just happens to be a rock legend. Tyler is quirky but he comes off as a lovely person and the people on the crew, in his band and his peers have only the most beautiful things to say about him in this film, especially Adam Green. Out on a Limb does give off the strange vibe that they made this movie after he passed away. However, while Tyler might be 70 years old, you see him working on his music with a lot of effort, passion, and energy, giving you the impression that this movie is very premature.
The concert portion of the film takes place at the 2,300 seat Ryman Auditorium, a famous concert venue in Nashville that was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. The concert features many Aerosmith hits mixed in with Tyler’s new country album, which I didn’t even know existed until watching this movie. This movie cost an estimated $300,000, and I wish they had spent a little more on this portion of the film because it isn’t always the highest quality. Even though it wasn’t as well shot, edited and mixed as the rest of the movie, it was the most fun.
I think it was a risk for the filmmakers to turn the spotlight on a portion of Tyler’s career that will be glossed over when he eventually does pass, and I think they did enough to earn some of the rewards that can accompany risk. If you’re an Aerosmith fan or want to know what attracts an eclectic mix of music to Nashville, making it unique part of the music world this is a film you should watch. If like me and you’re fascinated by the idea of Steven Tyler making a country album, this is a movie you should watch. If you are interested in none of those things, you may want to pass. The movie is fun and has some good stories but nothing groundbreaking that will convert the uninterested. If you are interested, Steven Tyler: Out on a Limb is currently available on demand.