Monday, June 25, 2007

Paris, France

Well, at the moment I am in Dublin, after a choppy four-hour ferry ride from London. Time to catch up on the Paris visit. I flew my wife in for a day and a half of sightseeing, but thanks to the weather in Miami, she missed her flight the first day and had to catch a flight from Miami to New York to Paris the next day. Of course, her luggage, promised to be already on the plane, did not show up. Not so good. Not to mention, I had passport issues, due to my passport expiring before one of the work visas does.

After the show in Paris, we stayed behind as the crew went on to Antwerp. I spent the morning standing in lines to get on the Metro and then at the U.S. embassy to get an emergency passport. Finally at 1:00p.m. we started out towards the Louvre.

Donna at The Louvre

The Louvre was formerly a fort, converted into the most famous museum in the world. To do it justice would take three days, one for each of the wings. We liked the Egyptian relics a lot.

We also made a quick run through the Greek and Roman statues.

After seeing the Mona Lisa, which you cannot take pictures of, we walked to the Eiffel Tower as it got dark.

Donna on a bridge that spans the Seine

The Eiffel Tower

Paris was great, I'd like to spend a week there, since we missed many famous landmarks and tourist sites. The food was great, the hotel excellent. Not to mention seeing the fabulous wife and sipping a glass of wine in the park at the Louvre.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Munchen, Padova and Venezia - UPDATED

Or, Munich, Padua and Venice... Here are some scenes from the past three cities we were in.

Munich was a lot of fun, we were staying close to the downtown area, and cafes and bars were everywhere. Jim Survis and I ventured out to see the sights and had a couple of mugs of delicious German beer at a cafe that we tried to order food at, but they had stopped serving lunch and it was too early for dinner.

Jim Survis' Mug Shot

So we hoofed it down several blocks and found an Italian cafe and ordered some pizza margherita. Very tasty, especially when washed down by two more mugs of pure German beer.

Fountain in Munich Plaza

We decided to walk off the meal and the beer and headed down to the main square, ending up in a beer garden where we had a final mug of Paulaner Pils.

Town Square

Das Bier Garden

Pizza and beer adventure over.

We drove 8 hours after the Munich show to Padova (Padua), Italy. Beautiful countryside, and only a 45 minute train ride to Venice. A group of us caught the train around noon and got into Venice at 1:00.

View From The Train Station Steps

Lots to see here, so we set out a a leisurely pace through the narrow twisting streets of the canal city. Gondolas and water taxis at every turn.


There is a main plaza with government buildings and an amazing church.

Main Plaza

Unfortunately, while we were in Venice, a terrible storm blew through a few miles away at the venue and brought the staging down at the Heineken Jammin' Festival. 40 people were injured, some seriously,and the festival was cancelled. This means we had an extra day off, and having done Venice already, we decided to check out Padua.

Padua Canal

We visited the Basilica de San Antonio (St. Anthony). St. Anthony was born in Portugal and lived in Padua during the 12th century. He was a contemporary of St. Francis, who called him "his Bishop". Seventeen miracles are attributed to St. Anthony, and the church has fragments of his clothing...and his tongue! Apparently, thirty years after his death they opened his casket and all had turned to dust - except his tongue - which was still whole and red in color. It is preserved in a requilary in the church, encased in a glass and gold monument. No photos were allowed within the church, but we did see all of the relics and the beautiful architecture inside. All of us felt a strong, "heavy" presence while in the church, non-Catholics included. Very powerful stuff.

Church of St. Anthony

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In Randers' Field

First two shows are over, all is well. We finally got to play a gig in Europe, in Randers, Denmark. Opening act was D-A-D, formerly known as Disneyland After Dark until Mickey and Co. threatened a lawsuit. They have been around for many years, but I was not aware of them. They were excellent, kind of a Danish glam-rock band, with a great guitarist and drummer. The bassist played some weird instruments, and only uses two strings.

The crowd was into them and Aerosmith, we had a good show.

We all enjoyed a nice day of in Kristianstad, Sweden. Beautiful weather, nice hotel location - just two blocks from the town square.

Outdoor cafes are the norm, and we had lunch at dinner at them. Here's Jessica (who you might remember as our flight attendant on the South American run), our new Production Assistant.

Brad Johnson ponders the menu.

He ended up ordering the steak, which was apparently pretty good. I opted for the bun-less hotdogs, and was disappointed. They tasted funny, and the consistency of the actual dog is more like meat paste than the more solid American version.

We went shopping for a while, looking for adaptors to turn US plugs into Euro plugs and ran into Doug Short, our monitor tech. He was on a sock hunt.

Last night we closed the Sweden Rock Festival. Lots of popular bands on the bill, including Government Mule and Skid Row. Met Brian Farmer, Warren Haynes' guitar tech and did a short interview for D'Addario. Warren and "the Mule" were excellent, lots of good tunes and great dynamics and musicianship.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Big Bang Galore

Dateline: Bangalore.

Well, the Magic of India was in the air, I guess. After putting their song "A Taste of India" on the set list, the band decided to play the hit single from that album, "Jaded". The multi-talented Russ Irwin is still not here, so Haystack played keys again, but what to do about "Jaded", where Russ plays acoustic guitar?

I offered, they agreed, and I played guitar with Aerosmith tonight. Not on stage mind you, as no wardrobe person outside of a Gospel choir would have anything remotely close to my size. I stayed in my world - in the wings - and banged out the chords to the tune. It was great fun, and Tyler stopped by for a visit during the song to let me know how I was doing. He didn't unplug me, so I guess I did OK. Somebody out here got a picture, I think, so I will post it if I can find it.

Thanks, Steven and band for the opportunity to actually play guitar with the very same guys that taught me how to play guitar. What more can I say?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hendrix In The Mideast

Keyboard tech Bruce "Haystack" Hendrix got to live a dream last night. Due to passport complications (FedEx lost them), keyboardist Russ Irwin could not make the Dubai show. Bruce was called on to play the parts and fill in onstage for Russ. He did a fine job and got to do what most musicians I know would love to do - jam with Aerosmith in front of 12 thousand fans.

Good job, Haystack!

Bruce Hendrix playing "Dream On"