2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK FIVE

Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001

FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Five – Allentown, Providence. Baltimore and Philadelphia

Week five….oh yes!! Week five of what is rapidly becoming the ‘guess where they’re gonna play today’ tour! As the Aerosmith arena shows fall like flies, we are trying to stay ahead of the game, and afloat out here, by putting in club shows in the towns that get cancelled. So this week is all our own shows. We hope that it will be business as usual by the time we hit New York next week, but right now, its back to basics with these four shows. Allentown is a very small town, that seems somewhat……er…..closed!? It appears to be a ghost town, and as I walk down the deserted streets, I have a hard time imagining what there is to do here. It all strikes me as being just a little too desolate. I know someone who lives there will be posting frantically on the message board, disagreeing with me vehemently, but all I can do is tell it as I see it.  As I walk through the streets, a lot of the stores are boarded up. I see at least three drug rehabilitation centres, and the few people that are on the streets start to cast suspicious looks at me, as if I’m intruding, but that might have something to do with the huge plastic werewolf hand that was left over from Halloween, that I am now wearing, nonchalantly, as a stroll about!! I begin to wonder how it would be if I got stuck here, and the book, The Stand, by Steven King comes into my head –  what would I do for money? Wait tables? Clean windows? Coach the high school swim team? Open a Starbucks (‘cos God knows they need one!!) Not many vacancies for punk rock bass players in this town, I suspect. I do find a rare pair of Nikes sitting on a top shelf in one of the stores, and the guy has no clue what they are. When I ask him how much, he says he’s had them sitting there for ages, so offers me them for forty bucks. They are worth at least two hundred, so I buy them straight away, and walk off with a smile on my face! Allentown goes up in my estimation.

The venue is a small rock club, that gets respectfully full by the time we go onstage, and it’s the usual thing……fighting to hear what’s going on in the monitors, everything very loud, no lights (we blow the lighting rig and pa rig up twice while we are on!!) and everyone in the audience seems to have a good time. We play the same set that we have been doing recently, with American Gothic, Ashes And Ghosts, Sun King etc and I think we went down well. It’s hard to tell, because I am exhausted after the show, and dive on the bus, lay down, and just chill out. Matt goes out to sign autographs, but I fall asleep on the bus, and wake up a couple of hours later when we are on the move. Providence, Rhode Island, and a venue that we played a couple of months ago, on the summer tour. Not a lot to do during the day really – we all just take showers, check emails, and generally bum around until the evening. I buy a couple more games for the PS2 to keep me occupied and do a bit more on my songs, but I don’t see the others until we start warming up for the show. The performance tonight is better – we have room to move, and we have all our backline up, something which we didn’t have in Allentown. Sometimes, when the stage is very small, we have to use half our amps, and half our monitor system. Tonight, though, the crew have fitted everything on the stage, so Rise kicks it off nicely. It all sounds very loud to me – something which is confirmed, when I look out into the audience, and see our sound man wildly gesturing for me to turn my amps down!! Ooops, sorry!! After a few songs, things settle down a bit on stage, and we turn in a pretty good performance. War sounds great to me in the encore, and L.R.M. closes everything in it’s usual, mad, raucous way. After the show, we get introduced to players from the Bruins Ice Hockey team, who seem suitably rocked by our set, and outside, we sign stuff for people, before the overnight drive to Baltimore.

I love this city. Straight into a cab, and down to the harbour, and after buying all the Harry Potter books in a fit of insanity (actually, having started to read ‘em, they’re pretty good!) I check out the submarine, and long ship that are moored in the harbour. The weather is fine, the lobster thermidor I order for lunch tastes extra good today, and life seems ok. Back at the venue, and I get jumped on by a Cult fan, who asks me to sign two Stimulator CD’s!! How did she get them? She probably doubled the sales figures on those two singles, just by getting her copies!! I’m suitably impressed, and she shows me a poster of Matt in a gold sparkly shirt – very 1940’s ballroom! She also gives me a gift certificate for Starbucks!! I may have taken this coffee thing a little far! – but I’m very touched and thank her for the thought. The stage at Hammerjacks is absolutely tiny, and when I sound check with Matt, I can tell that its going to be a tough show for me. Bass guitar is a physical thing – I have to actually feel the sound in my body when I play, and tonight, with half the back line and half my normal monitors, there is no way I’ll even hear it, let alone feel it. Matt’s kit seems very close, so I think it’s going to be VERY loud tonight!! And sure enough, the show is chaotic, from an onstage point of view. None of us can really hear what’s going on, and while the audience have a good time, I think we all struggle to get through it.

An hour an a half later, its done, and we crawl off stage, sweaty and very deaf!! Crashed out on the bus after the show, I wait for the ringing in my ears to stop, and then Mr Duffy and myself get something to eat before the overnight drive to Philadelphia. Special K and cheese on toast never tasted so good!! The busses have to park just outside the centre of Philly, so once I’ve woken up properly, I take a cab into town, and go wandering around for a few hours. It’s a cool city, with a whole bunch of things to do and that’s one of the bonuses of being in this band – we get to travel around the world and visit different kinds of places. I look around for a particular type of leather hat that I want – kinda like a Kangol thing – but I don’t find it. I do, however, find a gentleman’s hat emporium, with a couple of guys serving behind the counter that are straight out of Starsky And Hutch……original pimp daddy characters, that try and sell me a huge purple fedora hat, with an orange feather sticking out of it!! These dudes are very cool, but I make my excuses and leave, before they try to sell me their daughter, or 1/2 a pound of crack!!

After the sound check, which goes pretty much to plan, we hang around in the dressing room, which has been decked out in our usual chic/hippy/new age/post apocalyptic/cowpunk type opium den attire. I have to tell you that we carry around drawers full of candles, lava lamps, bit’s of old curtain and anything else that our on-tour interior decorator, Mr Tony has managed to steal along the way!! He does a fabulous job of transforming the back closet of a tired venue into the palatial splendour that is our dressing room! Most people that have made it back there will tell you how much I just exaggerated the majesty of it all, but he does do a good job in making our quarters comfortable. The show is another hot one – small clubs and bright lights make it like this – but we all have fun, we play well, and the crowd make us feel right at home. Firewoman and True Believers stick out as the highlights for me personally, but after the show, everyone is in a good mood, and it’s on to New York.

True to form, by the time the bus arrives the next morning, I have gone down with a killer cold. I manage to go out with friends for a great meal the first night we arrive (thanks Richard – yer a star!!) but by the next morning, it has really kicked in and I spend the next two days lying in my hotel bed, feeling like shit, and smelling of Vicks Vaporub!! Great!!! As I sit in The Paramount, deep in Manhattan, sniffing back a bunch of snot, dealing with a headache from hell, and re-reading what I’ve written this week, I cant help but feel like its been a bit of a long, drawn out week. This coming week starts with Madison Square Gardens, should hopefully see my cold start to disappear, and again, hopefully, the Aerosmith tour will be back in action. It all seems like a recipe for a more productive diary entry from yours truly. We shall see. Until then, take care and see you at a show.

Peace

Billy Morrison