06/27/2017

John B's News From The Road

Hello folks, back again!

The AeroVederci tour is in full swing. After some rehearsals in the bunker situated deep inside the Blue Hills of Massachusetts the band headed for Israel where they haven’t played since the “Get A Grip” tour.

Tel Aviv:

The highlight of the visit to the Holy land was getting a tour of Jerusalem and meeting Benjamin Netanyahu. “Bibi” was very engaging and spoke fondly of his time in Cambridge MA in the early 70’s.  After meeting the band and Management team he took Steven, Joe, Brad and Tom into his office and showed mementos to them. The real Highlight though was the show at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. Ironically the same venue the guys played at in 1994.


Photo by: Katarina Benzova

Georgia:

Next up was Black Sea Arena in Georgia. It was Aerosmith’s first time in Georgia. The city of Batumi is beautiful and the people couldn’t have been nicer. The venue was sort of a indoor/outdoor kind of place. The capacity crowd of 10,000 was one of the more intimate places the band has played in Europe in years even though the fans made it sound more like 100,000. Sounds cliché but it’s 100% the truth. Sadly the day before Chris Cornell passed away and the guys gave him a chilling tribute right before “Dream On”. 

Batumi, Georgia 
Photo by: Katarina Benzova

Moscow:

The band played Moscow for the third time in 3 years, which would have been unheard in 1973. Moscow is always a great stop and the Russian fans are some of the best in the world.  Chip Away the Stone was dusted off and played for the first time on the tour. At the halfway point of the tour it will make a cameo here and there. Chip Away is always a die-hard fan favorite. Olympiski Sports Complex is a legendary and great venue. It’s big but has an intimate feel to it and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.


Joey Kramer with fans in Moscow
Photo by: Aaron Perry

Munich:

Aerosmith last played Munich in 2007.  22,000 in Attendance at the Sold Out show at Konigplatz. Munich is my favorite cities in Germany. Foreigner open the show and all 5 guys watched a portion of their set from side stage. It was great to see old friends there including Thom Gimble who played keyboards and sax for Aerosmith from 1993-1997. Thom plays guitar for them and has been in the band for 20 years. Joe’s old guitar tech from 1992-2009 Jim Survis has been with Foreigner for a few years now and it was great catching up with him. It was truly a spectacular setting for a rock show and one could only imagining what kind of gatherings took place on those grounds in say 1942. 


Photo by: Aaron Perry

Berlin:

Can’t say enough good things about this city. Although at times you feel like you could be in New York the vibe has a, shall I say “newness” to it. Except for the Waldbuhne that is. It was designed by German architect Werner March in emulation of a Greek theatre and built between 1934 and 1936 as the Dietrich-Eckart-Freilichtbühne (German: Dietrich Eckart Open Air Theater), a Nazi Thingplatz, and opened in association with the 1936 Summer Olympics. Since World War II it has been used for a variety of events, including boxing matches, film showings and classical and rock concerts. It seats more than 22,000 people. (Thank you Wikipedia)


Photo by: Ross Halfin

Old friend from the Scorpions  Klaus Meine attended the gig and had a nice visit with the guys pre-show. Legendary Photographer Ross Halfin was there to shoot and captured some amazing photos of this historic venue. Ironically enough it was where the band saw the Rolling Stones in 2014 while on tour. Klaus watched the show at the soundboard with Steven and Joe that night. Aerosmith previously played this venue in 1999.


Yours truly with Mr. Klaus Meine of the Scorpions. 
Photo by: Ross Halfin

Krakow:

Sometimes you have to do what is called in the biz as a “hit and run”. That’s when you go from the city you are in, stop in a city do a show and then off to the next city. On this tour we didn’t get a chance to stay over in Krakow like the crew did but in the very short time we were there you could feel the energy and pride that surrounds this great European city. The crew took a tour of Auschwitz and was understandably moved from their visit, as you would expect. It was the band’s first visit to Krakow as they have previously played Warsaw and Lodz in Poland. Hoping for a longer stay there in the future.


The Aerosmith crew spends the day touring Auschwitz

Copenhagen:

I’ll end this segment of “News from the Road” with the show in Copenhagen. What a great time we had in Denmark. It has great shopping and food here. It was the first time playing in Copenhagen proper since 1989 but we have based here in recent years. Rival Sons opened the show. What a great band! If you get a chance go see them when they come to your town.


Joe and Rival Sons Guitarist Scott Holliday backstage in Copenhagen. 
Photo by: Ross Halfin

Kiefer Sutherland was in town and he got to say hi to the Bad Boys from Boston and watch the show from side stage. Jack Bauer didn’t need security as he could clearly take care of himself.


Photo by: Ross Halfin

No shortage of star power in the City of Beautiful Towers. I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband the talented Lord Christopher Haden-Guest. I got to speak with them in the lounge of the Hotel for a few minutes and just by talking with Jamie Lee for a short time you could tell she was a class act. She has definitely “Tapped” into the fountain of youth and I had the urge to stock up on Activia pronto. I gave Mr. Guest some of Joe’s guitar picks and talked “Spinal Tap” with him. When I gave him the picks he said he was sorry he didn’t have any Nigel Tufnel picks to reciprocate. No need as just getting to say hello and get a handshake from the two were good enough for me.

It has been great hearing songs that haven’t been played recently like Let the Music, Young Lust, Seasons, Hangman and Nine Lives. Although the shell of the set has been tight and constant you can always count on a surprise or two every night.


 

Employee of the Week!

Goes to Tour Manager Bernie Boyle. Bernie has been there done that in the Music Business. Now what I’m about to type may seem like I’m being cheeky but it’s a fact that Bernie was pals with the Beatles since the Cavern days and even traveled to Hamburg with them around 1962. He also Tour Managed all the big acts like Paul McCartney, ELO and Rod Stewart to name a few. He first crossed paths with Aerosmith in Boston in 1972, when he was in charge of the traveling rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar where he befriended Aerosmith’s first manager Frank Connelly. Bernie is one of the best in the business and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss. His attention to detail and impeccable hygiene are only a few reasons why he is “Employee of the Week”!

Next week I’ll give you a recap of Sweden Rock, Download, Dublin and more.

See you on the Road!

-John Bionelli

* Little know fact: Ross Halfin’s father Bob Halfin co-wrote one of the best selling British novelty songs ever. Max Bygraves made pink Toothbrush popular in 1955. Next time you see Ross go up and start singing “I’m a Pink Toothbrush, you’re a blue toothbrush have we met somewhere before?