Well someone has to be the first right
I'm afraid I have some catching up in the Linux space and would have issues doing half of what you mentioned above :S
I'm using a Dell PERC 5/i card (rebranded LSI MegaRAID card) that should work fine with the smartmontools. I tried one of the Linux Live CD's yesterday and it seems to be recognizing the card, but I'm having issues getting the commands to work. I know the ERC commands won't work, but I kept on getting errors just trying to query the HDD connected to the card. I guess I'll have to look into that a bit more.
I'm thinking that as long as Greg's ERC version of smartmontools is compiled and loaded onto a bootable live distro, that should suffice. I might be wrong as I'm only speculating.
Anyways, I would appreciate if you could upload an image of the USB stick somewhere (or PM me for e-mail) so I could give it a go.