2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK SEVEN
Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001
FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Seven – Uncasville, Long Island, Washington, Atlanta and Myrtle Beach
Doing this for a living wouldn’t be enough for me. Although it pays well, the travel possibilities are almost endless, and the food is free, I wouldn’t be able to do it without the buzz of being on a stage, and the feeling I get when I create something. It might be a video that I edit on the computer (I’ve done one for Breathe, that should be up on this site as a free download for you guys…….when Atlantic get around to it!!), it might be a song that I write, or it might be a good weeks tour diary, or a good show. But I have to be able to create in order to feel whole, and in order to feel satisfied. And this week has been a week of creativity. The shows have felt good, and my playing has been on the money most of the time. The tour diary has been easy to write, as opposed to staring at the screen, wondering what to say!! And the ideas have been flowing about the up-coming Cult DVD, and maybe a video for the proposed release of True Believers to radio, early next year. So the week has been a positive one for me.
It starts in Uncasville, and the last arena show for a week. The Aerosmith guys are taking a week off for Thanksgiving, but we are playing right through, with some of our own shows. We get to the venue fairly early, but as it’s right underneath a huge Mall and Casino, we have plenty to keep us all amused for a few hours. Exactly how much money was at stake on the tables has to remain a closely guarded secret, but much fun was had, even though I don’t think any of us came out much richer than when we went in!! And it’s Matts birthday today, so huge lemon cream cakes, books on Coi Carp, cigars and Jimi Hendrix all play a part in the proceedings. The show itself is a good one for me. I have a great sound and I play well. At one point, Ian sits down cross legged on the floor, and sings Firewoman – making a visual statement about the crowd that are just sitting there!! The cheers are great, but how can people just sit in a chair and watch a rock and roll show? Surely it’s all about standing up and getting into it? Whatever, we play a good show, and come off stage feeling good. Joey Kramer gives Matt a snare drum for his birthday, and I spend about an hour talking computers with Joe Perrys’ son. That kid is very talented, making his own movies and documenting the tour with a digital camera. We also get given some cool shit by a friend of ours, who is in the Boston Police Dept, and who is at the show. Thanx for the goodie bag, Scott!! It’s late when we finally drive away, heading for Long Island.
Now THIS is an eventful show!! The day is spent mostly on the bus, just hanging around. Not a lot to do in Hicksville, Long Island!! But come showtime, and we can hear the sold out crowd chanting ‘Cult, Cult…’ and we start to get vibed up. The intro tape rolls, we walk out to a huge cheer, launch into Rise, all attitude and volume, and……..the power goes out before Ian has sung a note!! Booing and hissing ensue, and we can’t do anything except walk off the stage and let the venue people try and sort out the problem! Visions of having just played the shortest set ever flood through my mind, but after about ten minutes, they seem to have figured it out, and we walk back onstage to try again! Nothing goes bang, nothing smokes, electrocutes us or switches off, and we carry on. The audience are NUTS!! I love this shit!! People are surfing, coming over the barrier, jumping up and down, moshing…… this is what a rock and roll show should be like! Despite a pretty awful onstage sound, we play really good tonight, feeding off the energy that the crowd are giving us. And then some arsehole has to go and ruin it. An unopened can of beer comes sailing over the front few rows, and smacks Ian straight in the head. He shakes it off and carries on singing with a stream of blood running down the side of his face. You wanna talk about believing in what we do? THAT right there is a professional. A lot of singers would have been walking offstage at that, but Ian just laughs it off, and finishes the set. It’s a full set tonight as well – the encore of War, Sun King and L.R.M. finish the night off, and we retire back upstairs tired and happy. Thank you very much, Long Island for a great reaction.
Once we have showered and changed, we hang out and say hi to some people, and just chill out until its time for the bus to leave. Next stop Washington, DC. I hang out of the bus window at some god-awful hour of the morning, and all I can see are stores that are shut, and a very dodgy looking guy, standing on the corner, trying to sell drugs. Who he’s trying to sell ‘em to is a mystery, because at this time of the morning, the area around the 9.30 club in DC is a complete ghost town. I ignore Mr Pimp Daddy Big Shot, and locate someone from the venue to drive Mike, Tony and myself into town and to our hotel. Once we have showered and changed, Tony and I go shopping in the Georgetown area and I discover the delights of the new gingerbread latte from Starbucks……..oh shit, now I’m in real trouble!! Those things are NICE!! After a couple of hours looking around, we go back to the hotel, pick up our bags and head over to the venue. The news is that we have sold out the show, and the people are already starting to line up outside the club at five o’clock. I chat with a few people and then wait around on the bus watching movies. Way Of The Gun, with Juliette Lewis, James Caan and Benicio Del Toro is an excellent movie, and the gunfight at the end is up there with some of the best Clint Eastwood westerns.
Eventually, we all go inside and get ready to play. The vibe inside the club is fantastic, and the club looks rammed with people as we launch into Rise. It’s another great show, with everyone going crazy. Matts back is hurting, but you wouldn’t know from watching him. He absolutely rocks tonight, and apart from Sun King, in which I make possibly the most hideous mistakes EVER, I personally have one of the best shows I’ve had. My onstage sound is solid, I groove with Matt, and just love watching the crowd going nuts. At one point, I see some dude surfing over the barrier………still holding his beer!! The guy is being held aloft by the crowd, hands his drink to the security guy, comes over the barrier, and then takes his beer and walks back into the audience……RESPECT! The less said about Sun King, the better – I had a complete breakdown, and my brain just refused to work! Not good, when its gotta tell yer fingers where to go! Lets just pretend we didn’t play that song, huh?!! We close the show dripping in sweat and I run straight onto the bus to get changed. Afterwards, I look outside and there must be fifty people hanging out, waiting to get stuff signed and say hello. I want to explain at this point that because we travel on two busses, and as we all do our own thing, I am not able to tell you where Ian is!! He does his own thing, and comes out in his own time. I sign whatever people want me to sign, take some pics, and meet a whole bunch of board members – no, not VP’s and CEO’s, but people who chat on our message board. And what a lovely bunch of people they are, too!! Eventually, it gets too cold for me, I say my goodbyes and thank you’s, and get back on the bus to watch the new Planet Of The Apes movie.
I wake up the next day, in what seems like a sauna, and upon investigating, I find out that the AC is blowing 80 degree air throughout the bus!! We have a day off in Atlanta, and its Thanksgiving today…..not that it means that much to Billy, Ian and myself, because being English, we don’t actually celebrate it!! But hey, it’s a day off, and a chance for me to set my stuff up in my hotel room and make some music. Billy, Matt and Tony all get their hair done by Tolha, Queen of the Cool Cut!! She does a great job and gives Tony a brilliant dye job – black layers underneath his natural blonde color – as well as trimming up Billy and Matt nicely. She even opens up her salon, just for us. Thank you, Tulha. And in the evening, a friend of Matt’s from Earthlink takes about ten of us to the NHL Hockey game (Atlanta Vs Montreal). As we walk upstairs to find our box, the game has already started, and the first thing I see is two guys slugging it out on the ice. These two are properly fighting, throwing punches and smashing each other into the barrier, and the rest of the teams AND the referees are just standing around them, watching!!! This is gonna be very interesting. It’s my first hockey game, and I enjoy the whole deal. Comic video clips on the screen between plays, amazing displays of skill on the ice, and Firewoman blaring through the arena sound system during the intermission all combine to make it a great evening out. The crew go out afterwards to ply their trade in the local strip club, and I could tell you how I went with them and had loads of naked chicks draped all over me all night long…………but I would be lying!! I go back to the hotel and watch some TV before falling asleep. How very un-rock and roll of me!!!!
Show day in Atlanta and it’s at a place called Earthlink Live – an interesting venue that has the seats around the side and back rising steeply, rather like a university lecture hall. But the show is sold out and completely packed tonight. And again, the audience are brilliant. Very vocal and animated, the Atlanta crowd give us a warm welcome and we respond with another killer show. True Believers, Edie and Wild Flower give me chills, as I play them, they sound so good. Sun King is a hell of a lot better from my point of view, as well!!! Ian doesn’t have an awful lot of room to move, as the stage is a bit cramped, but he sings excellently, and still manages to work the crowd up nicely. Matt, Mike and myself feel extra solid tonight, and Billy D does his usual guitar hero stuff. Another broken string in L.R.M. (I just get a little too carried away!) and its all done. After the show, we hold a little soiree in the VIP box upstairs and everyone is buzzing – we take pictures with people, and chill out to Led Zepp on the stereo, chatting to everyone. As people eventually start to drift away, we head out to the busses and drove overnight to Myrtle Beach.
We played this House Of Blues a couple of months back, in the summer, and the main thing I remember is going to see the alligators and snakes in the park behind the venue. And guess what…….we do the same thing this time around! The ‘gators don’t look like they’ve moved an inch since we were last here! They just lay around, looking bored, which I guess is pretty much what you would expect. I’d be bored if I was locked up in the same place for months on end, with the same things to look at, and a whole bunch of strangers staring at you every day……er…….hold on a second? Isn’t that exactly what we do??!! Having drawn lots of Darwinian similarities between the captive ‘gators and life on the road, I get drawn back to the venue by the lure of a sound check. It ends up being a fifteen minute jam, with me playing guitar, Doug, our monitor guy on bass, and Matt on the kit. We hit every style, from rock to reggae, via cowpunk jazz and farmyard dance, and have a lot of the ‘F’ word…….(FUN!!) Enjoyment over, and its back to hanging around until its time to play. The audience are great again, and no beer cans are thrown tonight – this time, it’s a bra that comes over the barrier onto the stage. I’ve gotta say though, that if you are going to throw underwear at us, can you at least make it the lacy/frilly/suspender type stuff, and not a $3.99 beige number from Walmart!!! We play alright tonight – we’re not on fire, like we have been elsewhere this week, and we can’t expect every show to be amazing. The crowd loved it, and we give ‘em everything we have. Our energy is just a little low tonight, and it’s probably just that mid-tour funk that all bands go through around the six-seven week mark. After the show, a silly string battle between band members and crew members escalates into full on war, with bottles of Perrier and soapy water getting squirted around – my Magic Johnson slam dunk through the crew bus window with a can of silly string will remain a modern day classic!!! It’s a return to the arenas with Aerosmith next week, and a trip down to warmer parts in Florida, so maybe Mickey and Minnie can make us H.A.P.P.Y.!!! Until next week, thank you all for making the shows this week so killer, and take care of yourselves.