2001 – AEROSMITH TOUR WEEK TWO
Beyond Good And Evil World Tour 2001
FALL/WINTER LEG – WITH AEROSMITH. Week Two – Grand Forks, Ames, Milwaukee and Indianapolis
No offence to the good folks of Grand Forks, North Dakota, but what do you people DO in that town?? There is NOTHING there, and I mean nothing!! We find ourselves in probably the only hotel in town, which actually isn’t in town, but on the side of the highway. And it’s pretty much empty. There is a chalk board outside the hotel lobby declaring ‘ Shuttle bus leaves for Aerosmith/Cult concert every half an hour ‘……….who do they think is going to be on it? We check in and have to hang about until late afternoon when the bus will take us to the arena. So it’s showers, coffee and TV for a few hours until we leave. Again, the arena looks exactly the same as the last one, except that the walk from the stage and the bus park is three times as far as normal. I’m going to get some exercise today, whether I like it or not!! Matt has been with his Dad, so he’s not around, and Ian is still on his bus, so the two Billy’s grab some food, hang around the dressing room, and play the new Les Paul 58 Custom that Gibson have just made for Mr Duffy……..very nice, Sir!!!
Mike shows up with Ian, Matt and his father appear, and the band does a quick meet and greet with some local fans. Now, what is quite amusing is the whole countdown procedure before we actually hit the stage. It’s necessary, because without it, we would always be late onstage, but if you remove yourself from it, and watch it go down, it’s definitely worth a smile…….. First off, radio’s start to crackle…..’one hour to showtime…….one hour, over….’ And then someone will repeat that, just to make sure…..’One hour ‘til showtime, boys’…..OK, I guess that means we’re on in an hour, then? And from that point, there is a steady procession of people who come into the dressing room, counting down for us. …..’seventeen minutes, guys’……..’we walk in eleven minutes,…eleven minutes to showtime’…….There is no way we will be late on this tour!!!
Grand Forks has turned out in force for this show. The place is three quarters full when we walk on, and completely full when we leave. God knows where they all came from, because the town doesn’t look big enough to hold all these people. And they make a noise, too. We seem to have to work harder to start with….maybe they’re still getting the beer inside them while we do Peace Dog and Rise, but by the time we get to Firewomen, the audience are with us, and we go through Sanctuary and L.R.M. together. Another successful show, and we are playing really well together at the moment. I watch pretty much all of Aerosmith tonight, and I come away suitably impressed…..again!!
Back at the hotel, the bar is somehow full of what seems like ninety percent of the audience from the show!! We hang out and say hello for a while, and eventually we retire one by one, looking forward to our whole day off in the salubrious surroundings of the Grand Forks Shopping Mall – Shit, does it get more glamorous than this? The Mall is, by any stretch of the imagination, a little lacking in variety!! We all seem to buy something, however, and the day is spent just chilling on the bus, or walking around Target/Marshall Fields/Footlocker…………oh God, do I really need another pair of Nikes?……I find a few PS2 games that I didn’t know about, get excited, and then they tell me that they’re not released until next month. I go back to the bus and content myself with racing my virtual Corvette around Apricot Springs Raceway in Grand Turismo 3.
Ames, Iowa, and after a very bumpy overnight drive, we arrive at the venue around ten in the morning. What was it that The Stone’s drummer, Charlie Watts said?…..23 hours of hanging around, and 1 hour of doing the business? You know what you’re talking about, Charlie, don’t you. So I have to ask you…..how much do we take for granted? What I mean is, it’s amazing how much of our lives we don’t think about, until something goes wrong. Somehow, I’ve managed to damage my back. At first, I thought I’d just pulled a muscle, but when I wake up and can’t put my own shoes on, I know something is wrong. A visit from the doctor and the chiropractor confirm that I have damaged the joint on the right side of my 5th lumbar – it’s not permanent, apparently, but will take a couple of weeks of muscle relaxants, ice packs, a back brace, and plenty of rest. A good excuse to spend two weeks lying around on a sofa…..but fairly worrying, nonetheless. It really is a constant pain, with no let-up. I worry about how it’ll be onstage tonight, and sure enough, I find that I just can’t move around very well. We play really tightly tonight, and Billy D has an excellent show. It’s great to see him buzzing when we leave the stage. The audience is sparse, due to some kind of accident out on the highway, preventing a lot of people from arriving on time, but we rock the house anyway, and the ones that see us enjoy a good set.
Milwaukee is our own show, at a club called The Rave, and the gig is notable for two things. 1. The dressing rooms are amazing!! Full on hippy chic, with fabric hanging everywhere, lava lamps and candles all over the place – four rooms, all decked out with pillows, lamps etc. Very cool. And 2. The hotel that Geoffry Dahmer took his victims to, is right opposite the venue. The place looks strange, and without being weird about it, I could feel a very ‘black’ vibe as I stood outside and looked at the building. I decide that a grande, non fat, extra foamy latte is in order, and start the, by now, familiar process of locating the ubiquitous Starbucks. Can I just tell you how much this process is impaired, when one is crawling through the streets of an alien town like Quasimodo, with a 5th Lumbar that feels like it has a life of it’s own!! Do you think Starbucks will ever deliver???
Back inside, and we get our first sound check since we left LA – oh, the luxury of it all!! We decide to give the set a shake up, and we run through Ashes and Ghosts, American Gothic and Sun King, all of which sound very good. They get added to tonight’s set list, and we drop Bridges Burn, The Saint and Nirvana. Billy and I also work out White, in response to the number of people who want to hear a track from that album, so maybe we will get that one in the set too. Who knows. Watch this space!! The show is good – we play for an hour and a half, and it seems like twice as long, because we have only been doing support sets up to now. My back feels like it’s on fire – I have a whole new respect for people who suffer back pain – it really is one of the worst kinds. I play the set with a back brace and ice pack strapped to me, and although it helps, I am still doubled over by the time the encore is done. We are all shattered, but happy with the set – the new additions seem to fit in well, and the crowd were very vocal in their appreciation. A successful show, and we chill out in our ‘hippy palace’ after the gig, meeting folks, and unwinding. Eventually, it’s all over, and we get back on the bus for an overnight drive to Indianapolis.
The Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is absolutely huge……no, I mean, HUGE. Four tiers of seats stretching all the way up into the roof of the arena. And it’s pretty packed when we go on. Tonight is slightly different for us, because the Aerosmith boys have asked us to play for an hour. They are doing two shows today – one is a benefit for NYC in Washington, and then they fly straight to Indianapolis for this one. So we get to do an hour set, complete with intro tape. It turns out to be not one of the best shows. We start the show with Rise, and Billy’s guitar is switched off – not what he needs when it’s the first thing you hear in the song!! We play through it, and Ian sings a great set, running around the audience and getting everyone on their feet by the end, but for us, it’s not one of the better shows. When we leave the stage, we are not happy bunnies!! But you know, not every show is going to be the best ever – and tonight was just one of the ‘not so hot’ ones. Roll on next week, and a few days in Chicago – The Windy City.