2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK EIGHT

Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001

FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Eight – Orlando, Tampa, Ft Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Birmingham and Memphis.

OK kids, sing it with me (and don’t forget to show us your perfect smile!!)…….’M.I.C……K.E.Y……M.O.U.S. …AAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!! Shut up!! This place is weird – a strange, always smiling, kids go half price, lets buy a station wagon type place! We are in DisneyWorld in Orlando, and the last time we played here, we drove overnight straight afterwards. But this time, we have a day off, and a hotel right in the centre of the Disney experience. Mr Dimkich lasts about twenty minutes before renting a car and leaving until show time the next day!!! And I begin to think he had the right idea. You cannot walk anywhere, and all the taxi’s are so completely overpriced (although they do it while smiling!! …’that’ll be $40 please – have a wonderful day, sir!!’ ). So I manage to get a little bit of retail therapy in before the unbelievable falseness of Walt Disney’s vision gets the better of me, and I run back to our hotel, and the relative safety of my room. Even surfing the channels at night is worrying – they have a Disney Information Channel that gives details of all the attractions in the area. It’s impossible to get away completely from Donald Duck and Goofy. But I watch a bit of NFL (see how Oakland are doing – 8 and 2 last count…..do I smell a Superbowl arriving??!!) and have a night in, really because I’m too afraid of the rows of pearly white teeth that will be smiling at me if I leave the room.

Show day is largely what it always is at the House Of Blues…….see how much of the house menu we can eat before they get pissed off and stop bringing us food. It never happens!!! These people really look after the bands, and the food is great. I advise everyone to try the Devilled Shrimp at least once. The crowd file into the venue and it fills up nicely by the time we get onstage. Everything seems to work tonight, and there are no dramas. Ian sings well, and Billy pulls all the shapes and does his thing. My show is fine, and I play well, and the audience seem to enjoy it all. What’s nice about this gig, is that somehow I doubt that Walt imagined a band like The Cult rocking out inside his sacred world! We invite a bunch of people up to the dressing room after the show and hang out for a while until we get kicked out. The crew bus seems to have become Party Central at this point, because while we drive back to the hotel, they stay on into the small hours……the stories floating about the next day would turn a strong mans stomach!!

Imagine, if you will, the confusion that would arise if, lets say, a guitarist looked down onstage and had one set list in front of him, and the rest of the band looked down and saw a different list, with different songs on it. Lets just imagine that this was to happen in an arena, in front of 15-20,000 people. Think for a moment about all the programmable equipment involved in playing a set – lights, guitar fx etc – and think about what a sudden change in the set would do. Sounds like a disaster, huh?! But it wouldn’t happen, would it? OF COURSE it would!! It happened to us in Tampa. Rise was killer and we had the audience poised – Matt and I get ready to launch into Sweet Soul Sister, and Billy D……..starts the intro to L’il Devil, which is what his list says!!! Fucking Hell!! The crew must have partied hard last night because we have different lists to Billy, and his rig is programmed differently as well. It throws us for a while, and until we get to True Believers, Matt has to look over at Billys list and call it out to Mike and myself. Ian doesn’t know what he’s singing next. Pure chaos!! By the time Firewoman comes around, we are back on form, and actually play the song amazingly, but it’s too late, and when we leave the stage we are all very unhappy bunnies. Shit happens, and we get over it, but the Tampa show will remain in my head as one word…..PANIC!!!

The next day is a day off in Tampa. I spend it just sitting by the pool working on my fast fading tan from the summer, reading the last of the Harry Potter books (good job it’s the last one – they’re fun, but I will need a bit more substance in my next book!), and not doing very much at all. Mike, Billy D, Tony, Phil and myself go out to dinner in the evening and find a table on a river terrace, overlooking the bridge and the boats going home for the night. A very nice meal, good company and its time to head back to the hotel. Ft Lauderdale is the next show – another arena with Aerosmith, and by the time we check out of the hotel in Tampa and drive to the venue in Ft Lauderdale, there’s just enough time to grab some catering before we have to warm up and get onstage. Our friend Richard from NYC has come to the show tonight with a couple of friends – nice to see him – so we say hi briefly and arrange to meet up with them after we finish playing. Warm up over, and its time to get up there and rock the house. Now I’m not sure why, but this show went the extra mile. We had an amazing time, despite some out of tune guitars and Matts in-ear monitoring system not working properly. I played a note perfect set for the first time in a while, and Ian was just so on form, he sang and moved fantastically. At one point, I watch him run across the stage, drop to his knees and slide (on his knees) over to Mike, who is as surprised as I am to see Ian doing this. It all looks great, and Billy D and I cross over stage sides during Love Removal Machine, to play to the opposite sides of the arena. Billy and Ian lock in tonight as well, with Billy soloing right at the front, with Ian standing beside him. Like I say, I’m not sure why the show was so dynamic and entertaining, but hopefully that energy will continue.

Richard and his friends hook up backstage after the show, and we spend the rest of the evening watching Aerosmith, talking to our guests in the dressing room, and messing about in the parking lot. I manage to persuade Ian to give me some of his prized M+M candy (no mean feat, I can tell you!!) and everyone seems very happy. Eventually, as we have an overnight drive to Jacksonville, we call it a night about 2.00am and put on a movie as the bus pulls out. Its about 80 degrees in Jacksonville when we arrive – and that’s at ten o’clock in the morning! We have rooms at the new Adams Mark hotel, and the roof top pool, jacuzzi and sauna are too much to resist. A quick trip down the street to find a decent coffee and its up to the roof for me. I don’t see anyone all day, and I swim, sunbathe and generally have a really nice relaxing day. Once I’ve showered and got changed, I hook up with everyone else down at the venue.

Nothing could have prepared us for the kind of show we have tonight. The audience are unreal – completely up for it and going crazy. Its also a sweat box onstage and the combination of the crowd, the heat and the volume makes the whole show fucking amazing. Whilst its probably not the most note-perfect show The Cult have ever played, it is certainly the most enthusiastic audience I’ve seen on this tour. Firewoman, Wild Flower and L.R.M have the whole crowd (and I mean the WHOLE crowd) bouncing up and down and punching the air. And more encouragingly, I can see a whole bunch of people singing along to Ashes And Ghosts, American Gothic and the other tracks we play from Beyond Good And Evil. Its nice to see the new songs getting as good a reaction as the old ones. We leave the stage for a breather at the end of Sanctuary, and everyone is smiling. The encore is the usual……War, Sun King and L.R.M. and the whole place goes nuts. Thank you Jacksonville for showing us how much you can rock. It was a pleasure.

We arrive in Birmingham, Alabama to the news that the show has been cancelled, due to the arena scoreboard falling down during load-in. Can you imagine what kind of damage that could have done if it had come down in a sold out and full up arena. So while we are bummed that another show has been struck, we are very grateful that no one got hurt. And that leaves us with an unplanned day off, which gets filled with a movie (Black Knight…….don’t bother!!) a mall (nothing to buy…..I’ve got it all already!!) and a ……….well, that was it actually. A very long day sitting around doing not very much. I think we are all getting a little fatigued, and the break over Xmas can’t come soon enough. Its strange, though, ……. right now, we all want a rest – but I know that two or three weeks into it, we’ll all be wanting to get back out on the road again!!! We’ll have to see what the management have planned for us next year. For now, its getting on with this tour, and eventually, once our drivers have slept, we pull out of Birmingham without having played a note, and drive overnight to Memphis. And you know what’s coming, don’t y’all??? Ladies and gentleman, ………Mr ELVIS FUCKING PRESLEY!! Jesus, everywhere you go, there is Elvis stuff going on…..30 years later!!

All our plans of going up to Gracelands fall apart and we end up hanging around Beale St, in downtown Memphis, where every sidewalk café, bar and restaurant has Elvis blaring out from its stereo system. Where some guy dressed up like Elvis (or could it be……..the King himself??!!) is singing Elvis songs to an audience of two!! Its kinda like Disneyland for the Rhinestone set. Whereas Walt provides a pair of mouse ears with absolutely everything, here in Memphis, every purchase is accompanied by some kind of Elvis signature. “Try our famous 1/2lb Elvis Burger” reads one sign………”Home of the largest collection of Elvis pens in the world” reads another. “Portraits done while you wait – full price for ugly people” (that one makes me smile!) So having had enough of the King Of Rock And Roll, I retire to the bus to hang out until nearer show time. And again the show is good. The crowds are getting very animated these days and it’s a pleasure to be playing for you guys. Tonight is no exception – its another hot and sweaty deal, and again we see a bunch of crowd surfing and people going crazy. I want to thank everyone who has made the last few shows as crazy as they have been, and hope that we can keep giving 110% for the last couple of weeks. Its been a long, hard tour and we can all see the light at the end now. Energy is returning and you guys keep coming up with the goods. So lets have a great last two weeks and see you all next week, when we hit Dallas, New Orleans and sample the delights of Champaign, Illinois!!

Peace

Billy Morrison