2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK SIX
Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001
FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Six – New York City, Hartford, New Jersey, Poughkeepsie and Manchester.
New York City, and five whole days in the same hotel. Apart from getting sick for a few days, this ‘holiday’ in New York is welcomed by all of us. Obviously, retail therapy is high on all our lists, Manhattan consisting mainly of places to eat, and places to spend money! Ian, Matt and myself do some serious spending, and I keep seeing various members of our entourage appearing in the hotel lobby, clutching bags from Barneys, Saks, Gucci, etc. Central Park, Times Square……it all gets done over the duration that we are there, but I have to say that everyone, at some point, makes their way down to Ground Zero.
Visiting Ground Zero, the site of the September 11th attacks, is one of the most harrowing things I have ever done. It is WAY more oppressive than anything you might see on TV. The area has a heavy atmosphere to it, the smell is dusty, hot and sometimes overpowering, and the size of the devastation is truly shocking. How mankind could do this to itself is beyond me. What I see goes beyond politics or religion……it is basic humanity that has been destroyed. I walk around the hole in the city where the towers used to be and read all the tributes that have been posted on every wall and every streetlight in the area. Every kind of emotion runs through me during the hour or so that I am down there, and the journey back to the hotel is a time for reflection. The band have signed a one-off tee shirt and one of Ian’s cowboy boots from the Sonic Temple tour, and we will be auctioning those items on e-bay, with all proceeds going to the September 11th fund. I urge you all to do what you can to help.
Madison Square Gardens – home of the worlds biggest boxing matches, the New York Knicks, everything on ice skates, and large rock and roll concerts……including ours!! It is very cool to be playing at The Garden, and when the cars pull up outside the backstage entrance, two guys in black suits open the door, and walk us into the arena………nice!! The elevators take us up to the dressing rooms and catering, and we run into the Aerosmith guys. Tom, Brad and Steven all wish us well, and we all agree that it’s good to be back on the tour, with the previous weeks problems now behind us. I grab something to eat from catering and start the warm-up process. Outside our dressing room, a bunch more guys with ear pieces and black suits wander around, looking very serious and official, and with the air crash in Queens happening earlier on in the day, people are just a little tense. The audience are searched before being allowed to their seats, which causes a delay in getting the venue filled. But it looks pretty good by the time we hit the stage. The sound is good, the New York audience are responsive, and our set feels really tight. Ian dedicates True Believers to everyone involved in Sept 11th and the song sounds amazing. By the time we finish, most of the floor are standing and cheering, and it feels like we won The Garden over. A successful New York show.
After we shower and change, we all set about enjoying the rest of the night. Liv Tyler, Chris Rock and various other celebrities are all roaming the corridors backstage, and we have some friends who have taken some Skyboxes out as well. So between shaking hands, riding the elevator up to the boxes and watching the ‘smiths do their thing, I am worn out by the end of the evening. But it’s a great night, and a pleasure to play in New York again. After having a chilled few days in The Paramount Hotel, drinking with friends in the Whiskey Bar and shopping like a bastard on 5th Avenue, its back to normality, with our own show in Hartford, Connecticut. We do a meet and greet with some local radio competition winners, take some pictures, and hang out until it’s ‘that time’ again. The show is really good, and there is a special energy onstage tonight. We all seem to click, and Ian sings every note. I look over during one of Billy’s solo’s and he his obviously enjoying it all, pulling shapes and making the Les Paul scream. During Take The Power, I see the mosh pit start, and when we leave the stage, before the encore, the audience are making a hell of a noise. Back onstage for War, and my problems start!! First off, my wireless switcher hasn’t switched properly, so the bass is cutting in and out. And within seconds of that getting sorted, I break my A string……..on the most complicated bass line in the set!! But tonight, it doesn’t seem to matter. I make it up as I go along, writing the most bizarre, one string bass line the world has ever heard, and I get through the song. Sun King and L.R.M. are problem free, and we say goodnight, and thank you to Hartford.
I’ve gotta say I was very surprised at the lack of reaction from the New Jersey Meadowlands Arena crowd. Maybe we were having an off day – maybe it was just too early for the majority of the crowd. Either way, when we walked onstage, you could see the tumbleweeds blowing through the venue!! We played well, and tried to give some sort of performance, but at the end of the day, it was just one of those nights. And as there aren’t many of those, we chalk it up to experience, and move on to……..Poughkeepsie!! In a town like Poughkeepsie, the best thing to do is stay in your hotel room, and wait for check out time!! But I don’t follow the rule, and end up spending $14.00 on a taxi fare to buy a $3.00 latte….I must be fucking crazy!! Back at the bus, and waiting for it to pull out of the parking lot and drive around to the venue, I can hear some shouting right outside the back lounge window. As I stick my head out to see whats going on, I see two guys, right underneath the window, just throwing down!! I mean these two were fighting like their lives depended on it……but every now and then, one of them would back off and say ‘hey, I can’t afford to go to jail – lets stop now’…..and then they would carry on pounding each other! Eventually, they just kinda walked off in different directions, swearing at each other. Bizarre!
We don’t sound check and I just hang out with Billy on the bus until its time to play. We watch the audience going into the club, and wonder if they’ll be a better crowd than yesterdays mob. We shouldn’t have worried. This lot are completely ‘mad for it’, as they say in Liverpool, UK!!! What an insane audience…….jumping around, singing every word and generally having a riot. We are short of time tonight, so Sweet Soul Sister, Rain and Sun King get cut, but the rest of the set is completely out of hand!! We are on form, in time and have a blast. I have to say that Ian makes me laugh tonight. I watch him smash a mic stand repeatedly into the stage, and then develop a puzzled look on his face as the base of the stand gives up, and rolls away, a little worse for wear!! Maybe we have to develop a strengthened stand, especially for him. But he sings his ass off, and works the crowd like the true rock star that he is. Billy and Matt both have really good shows, and as I get through it all without breaking a string, I count that as a major plus, and put it down as a good show. Afterwards, I go out to sign autographs, and get given some home-made aromatherapy soap. I’m very touched, but does that mean I need a shower, or does it mean I need therapy??!! Probably both, actually!!
We drive overnight to Boston, and stay in our usual hotel there, as the Manchester show is only an hour from the centre of Boston. I go and see the new Harry Potter movie, which would be fine if I hadn’t already read the book. It always spoils the experience if the book is read first, and then the movie is second. But it’s a fun movie, and the kids will love it. No doubt it’ll gross $100 million dollars and smash all box office records. I also go shopping in Newbury St, and somehow end up buying the leather hat that I’ve been looking for. Trouble is that I find it in Burberry, and it costs a few hundred dollars more than I had originally planned!! Never mind, it’s very cool, and it’s only money, right??? The arena that we are playing tonight is brand new, so that means that The Cult is the first band ever to play there. And I am the first person to break a string there as well!! Can you believe it? I do it AGAIN…….right at the start of Firewoman. Although I’ve gotta say that changing guitars in the middle of a song has got to be fairly cool!! I finish the song on my Gibson bass, and keep it on for Wild Flower. That HAS to be it for the rest of the tour – surely I can’t break any more strings? It doesn’t throw me too much, and the set is pretty good. The audience get on their feet eventually, and make a fair bit of noise, and Love Removal closes the set as usual. Tonight, I watch most of the Aerosmith set, and it’s a good night to do it. They play Toys In The Attic, probably my favourite all time Aerosmith song! Joe plays a Gibson Gold Top, with his shirt off, and they remind me why I started doing this in the first place. All of us have had our fair share of the ubiquitous sex and drugs and rock and roll. But watching a band like Aerosmith playing Toys In The Attic, with 20,000 people going crazy, brings it back home why we all continue to sit on a bus and go all over the world, make records, and live the lives that we do. Its because the power of playing a good song, loudly, in front of an appreciative audience is better than any drug. The feeling we get, standing in front of you lot, playing songs that are spiritual, emotional, and that rock hard, is like no other feeling in the world. When we get it right, and play a good one, and you guys are on form, giving us the reaction that we need……well, then there is no other way I would rather be spending an evening. Keep coming to the shows, and keep supporting us, and The Cult will keep giving you music that fills your heart.