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Aerosmith is ‘under orders’ to put on spectacular show

October 17, 2009
By DAVE DONDONEAU, The Honolulu Advertiser

HONOLULU - If you want to make sure you see a guaranteed, full-blown, no-holds-barred Aerosmith show, head over to Maui on Tuesday night to catch the rock icons at War Memorial Stadium.

That's not to say Sunday's show at the Blaisdell Arena will be any less spectacular, but we're talking guarantees.

The Maui concert has one via a court order. The Oahu concert comes only with guitarist Joe Perry's promise that every time the group takes the stage, they play hard for their fans.

Article Photos

AP photo

Guitarist Joe Perry says Aerosmith plays hard for fans at every show.

The difference between the two will likely prove insignificant, but it's worth noting because the court order is the reason Aerosmith is performing here. The order stems from 2007, when the group pulled out of a Maui concert at the last minute. At the time, it stated scheduling conflicts with a bigger concert in Chicago.

The abrupt cancellation led to Honolulu attorney Brandee Faria filing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of about 8,000 fans who bought tickets, hotel rooms, flights and car rentals for the Maui show.

"Canceling a concert on Maui is not like canceling one on the Mainland, where it's mostly just lost drive time and ticket refunds," Faria said. "Most of the fans were coming from off-island, and since it was a Wednesday concert, many had to take off work for it."

Through disclosure, Faria discovered that the band had cancellation insurance and actually made more money by not performing on Maui. Also, the group had rescheduled the Chicago concert because of an alleged eye injury suffered by Steven Tyler. Faria, however, said the band still came to Hawaii that week, with its equipment, and played a private show on Oahu. It simply chose not to perform on Maui, she said.

"I lived and breathed this case for two years," Faria said. "In the end, they gave us everything we asked for."

Faria not only got what she wanted financially, but she was also able to include the clause that Aerosmith has to put on a full show on Maui. That means all equipment, which she said cost $250,000 to fly over in 2007, plus all band members must perform here.

In other words, if Tyler somehow isn't fully recovered from his injuries from falling off the stage in South Dakota in August, they could cut the show short Sunday night with no legal recourse.

If that were to happen on Maui, Faria said she would drag the group back to court.

"I didn't want them to be able to come in with half their equipment and not do a full show," she said.

Faria said the settlement calls for everyone who had a ticket to the 2007 concert to get a free ticket to either show on Maui or Oahu. (They were already reimbursed for their 2007 tickets.) Aerosmith is also responsible, up to $460,000, for reimbursing ticketholders for their out-of-pocket expenses for the 2007 concert, plus $100 travel credit for flights.

"The people who filed got their money back and a free concert to boot," Faria said. "That's a great deal. It's not common to get settlements like this in a class-action suit."

In the end, she doubted the performance clause would be needed.

"I have complete confidence they'll put on a spectacular show, with or without that clause," she said. "From everything I gather, they can still rock it."

Concert promoter Tom Moffatt said only a few hundred people at Sunday's sold-out show at Blaisdell Arena are using vouchers, and he's not sure how many more are doing so for the Maui concert.

"It's going to be a heck of a show," Moffatt said. "They're putting a runway in that stretches out into the audience. That's the first time we've ever had one in at the Blaisdell."

Erik Rutka of Hawaii Kai is one of the handful of 2007 concertgoers taking advantage of the free ticket for the Oahu concert. He said he isn't filing for his other expenses.

"We probably should have done a better job of keeping our receipts, but it's not worth the hassle now," he said. "It wasn't as bad for us going over there and not seeing the concert as it was for some others. My wife was my fiancee in 2007, and we had gone over with the idea to catch the concert and check out wedding locations. It worked out well."

As for Aerosmith's take on the performance clause, Perry dismissed it as a nonissue during a recent phone interview.

"We owe the fans of Hawaii good shows," he said. "We only had to do the Maui show under the court ruling, but we've always wanted to play there. It's just never lined up that we could before now."



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