2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK THREE
Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001
FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Three – Chicago, Detroit, Toledo and Pittsburgh
Three days in Chicago…in one place…in the same bed…..oh, joy of joys!! What a great start to the week. It really makes a difference when the schedule allows us to stay in the same hotel for more than one night. Laundry gets done, bags get unpacked, and bad backs get rested!! I check in and immediately order some coffee. I also get the chance to set up my ‘on the road‘ studio – a very simple affair, with a Mac, a Pod, a small desk and some speakers – but enough to be a little creative while I’m on the road. Now, anyone who uses computers or any related technology will tell you that they are so damn logical, that they outsmart you whenever you least expect it. So, there I am, setting all my stuff up in my hotel room, excited at the prospect of making some music…..I plug it all in….I turn it on….I press ‘play’….NOTHING!!! I won’t bore you all with the technical details – suffice to say that I spend most of the next two days in The Guitar Centre, Chicago, with ALL my equipment set up in the shop, refusing to move until someone makes it all work properly!! So much for a little R+R in the windy city! I’ve gotta say that all the staff of the store were incredibly helpful (thanx, guys – hope you enjoyed the show) and I now have a fully functional demo studio with me for the rest of the tour.
Chicago Allstate Arena….and Ian is in TOP form. …”I’ve got to tell you all that unfortunately, Aerosmith won’t be able to play tonight”, he jokes with the crowd. A huge cry goes around the arena, until he lets on that he is only kidding!! Ooops!! He is very funny tonight, and sings his ass off as well. Matt and myself seem to anchor it all down nicely, and True Believers sounds amazing, complete with a centre-stage Billy Duffy solo, back to back with Ian….’Bringing back the rock, ladies and gentlemen!!’ Rick Neilson, from Cheap Trick is in the audience, and I notice Mr Steven Tyler standing side of stage for a couple of songs as well. The aftershow celebrations, which include Louisiana shrimp, Camel-coloured leather trousers, Alice Cooper, and two twins, dressed like schoolgirls (not necessarily in that order) are ….. lets say, interesting…..and we all go to bed, tired but happy. The next day is a day off, and Matt and Billy start it off by getting up at eight o’clock in the morning, to go and do a radio show! Tommy, a friend of Matt and Billy’s, drives them up there, and takes them out to dinner later that evening. I spend the day in bed, watching tv, sleeping, and later on that night, going to the movies to see ‘Bandits’, the new Bruce Willis film, in which our Brucie tries in vain to sport a long, Hollywood type, pony-tailed hairdo, failing miserably. It ends up looking kinda like some cheaply cut mullett!! Not a bad movie, if a bit slow in places, but a good way to lose two hours in a strange city. The bus leaves around one in the morning, and we overnight it to the next show, in Pontiac, MI – near Detroit.
Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, in the house…….I said, TED NUGENT and KID ROCK in the HOUSE!!! Steven Tyler is screaming the names of the special guests for tonight’s show, as they walk onstage with Aerosmith to play ‘Walk This Way’. It’s a very cool moment, and tops off a very cool day for us. We’ve spent the day as usual, hanging around our hotel, and eventually, we get to the Arena. The first thing I see is the massage lady, and I decide to throw down, and get a 40 minute massage. In one word….Amazing!! This woman knows what she’s doing, and after about half an hour of her pushing her elbow into my ass cheeks (no sniggering at the back….!) I stand up and feel really good for the first time in weeks. It works wonders and when I walk on to the stage, I feel relaxed and confident. We change the set around again, and we open with American Gothic. And from the first chords, we all know it’s going to be a good one. I definitely find the pocket with Matt tonight, and Firewoman sounds perfect. Ian sings it with force, and Billy is up front, pulling the poses and playing really well. True Believers is going from strength to strength and tonight it works a treat. Wild Flower, Sanctuary and L.R.M. finish the set and two thirds of the arena, including all those notoriously expensive front row seats, are on their feet. In the dressing room, after the show, every one of us agrees that the show tonight was one of the best. And the Walk This Way Celebrity Jam Session finishes the evening nicely. One abortive limousine ride later (in the longest, most distasteful limo I have ever seen!) and I call it a day, head back to the hotel, and get my head down. Tomorrow is one of those long headline sets, as it’s our own show, and I figure I should get a good nights rest. All these 45 minute support sets are spoiling me……..I get knackered halfway through our headline sets at the moment, and I want to get back to full fitness as soon as possible. So it’s a relatively early night for Mr Morrison.
The venue in Toledo is a two thousand capacity hall with a bar attached and that’s about it. And as it’s our own show, we choose to sound check, and get it sounding right. Ian has had a sleepless night, so while he rests up, the rest of us get things dialled-in pretty well, and we run through the song, White, from the Ceremony album. It sounds pretty good, so we take a risk and decide to add it to the set, in the encore, for tonight. We do listen to comments, and rather than play it safe every time, we try to add and subtract songs from the set, not only for the fans, but to keep us on out toes as well. Right up until the encore, it’s a brilliant show. Matt and I find a great pocket and groove together nicely. Mike and Billy are rocking, and Ian is on top form. All the new songs sound powerful and the old ones are received really well by the crowd. We walk off stage for a quick breather, and then its back on for the encore. War is good, and then it comes to White. Um……how do I put this nicely?……basically, we fuck it up!! Billy D and Mike play it exactly as we rehearsed it, Ian sings it like the record, so Matt and I follow him, and it ends up in a real mess! So we stop playing. Simple as that!! No point in pretending that it sounds good when it doesn’t. It’s all a bit weird, but we play it again, get through it, do the rest of the encore and its goodnight. No one can say we don’t try!! The song hasn’t been played live in a lot of years, and it got dragged out of the closet and aired. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t get it right – those that saw the gig, said it was great, and very cool that we stopped playing, sorted it out, and then did it again!! I’ve seen some of the greatest bands on the planet do that – so who cares!!!
After the show, we find out that the Pittsburgh show has been cancelled due to illness in the Aerosmith camp, so we separate for a couple of days, arranging to meet in Toronto. Our bus goes to Pittsburgh anyway, and Ian’s bus goes to Chicago. Two rest days to recover, regroup, re-enact, re whatever you want, really. I go to see 13 Ghosts, which should actually be called 13 Piles Of Shit, and that’s about all the excitement I can handle. I hole up in my hotel room, and wait for the departure back into Canada. The talk is of stopping to see Niagra Falls on the way through. I’ve never been there, so if we get it together, that should be cool. Finally, I want to explain something about the rock and roll business. From the outside, it all looks like private jets, big busses, five star hotels, and champagne running from every faucet. At times, it can definitely be like this. Those are moments to cherish. But for a lot of the time, the reality is living in VERY close quarters with a bunch of other guys, for months on end.. This is not a weeks vacation. This is months and months of real life, just transported from an apartment to a bunch of busses. Of course there will be arguments, disappointments and boredom, just like there will be times of excitement, laughter and fun. We do it, because at the end of the day, we get to stand in front of people and play songs that mean something. Despite all the myriad of opinions, interviews, comments etc that are out there, Billy and Ian wrote these tunes and stand by them. They are still doing it 18 years later. Matt, Mike and myself believe in the songs and love to play them. So no matter what you read/hear through the grapevine/allow yourself to believe, the truth is that we all do this because we want to. And because you want us to.
See ya next week.