Full disclosure here, I’m a fangirl. Let’s just get that in the open now. So read this with whatever skew you want, though I do review honestly, fangirl or not.
I have wanted to see Bon Jovi for, well, ever. I can now scratch that off my bucket list. Although, if they go back on tour and come our way, I’ll be the first standing in line to hand over my hard-earned money. No, I didn’t get a high five like a friend of mine did when she saw him in the eighties… but I’m not going to complain. I only have a handful of pictures, but I took them early, because I was not going to watch the concert through my phone. I went for a good time.
Our seats were behind the stage. I knew this going in. I was okay with this. Holy shit, they didn’t disappoint. I had a clear shot at JBJ’s rear the entire show. He even made it a point to apologize to those of us who “had to stare at this rear end for two-and-a-half hours.” No apologies necessary, man. Seriously. None. He turned around and engaged those of us in the back a lot, and even did a fly-by on the part of the stage that came our way during “We Got It Goin’ On.” My only real complaint would be that he only utilized that portion of the stage the one time. In a twenty-four song set, he could have come back our way more than once. But it’s okay, because even without it, all was good.
The set list covered a wide array of stuff, spanning all three decades they’ve been at this. No, he didn’t sing “Always,” though I know for a fact he’s had some trouble hitting the high B on that one (and if you want me to be honest, although I love that song, the high note is my least favorite part about it… same with “Livin’ on a Prayer”). They vary the set list a little bit every show, so ours included the songs off This House Is Not For Sale, but we got a few of my favorites from other albums such as “We Weren’t Born to Follow” and “Born to be My Baby,” so I was pretty damn content. Of course, there were the be-all-end-all-if-Jon-doesn’t-sing-them-we-riot songs such as “Wanted (Dead or Alive),” “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “Bad Medicine” (my husband’s favorite, so he was happy), and the show ended—as all on this tour do—with “Livin’ on a Prayer.” They did an ode to Chuck Berry who passed away yesterday by playing “Johnny B. Goode,” which Jon told us he sang in early talent shows. It was a nice glimpse into him that I hadn’t seen before. See, I went to a concert and learned something.
It’s not a huge secret that Jon’s voice is shot—hell, he even admits it in the lyrics of “God Bless This Mess.” I’ve seen some performances where I felt for him, but this show he was pretty much dead on most of the night. (And hell, when he does go off-key, it’s better than this tone-deaf girl could ever do. Besides, if I wanted it identical to albums, I’d stay home and crank albums. I went for the experience.) I can’t complain at all, really. Did his voice get weaker as the night wore on? Sure, but it would for just about anyone who dances around and sings for two-and-a-half hours. Did he sing songs that wouldn’t strain his voice? Sure. *shrug* I can’t say that after thirty-four years in the business I wouldn’t do the same. He’s earned the right to pick and choose what works for him.
There for a while, my husband and I felt like the youngest people there. We weren’t. (There was even a little girl wearing ear protection in the third row with a sign that said “Jovi Fan In Training.”) It was mostly an older crowd, but damned if the arena wasn’t full. I didn’t see a single empty seat. The sing-alongs to “It’s My Life” and “Wanted (Dead or Alive)” were pretty intense.
Unfortunately, maybe it was the age of the crowd, or just the people over in my JBJ-rear-end-watching area, but it seemed no one knew how to have fun. I was on my feet the entire concert, save for “Scars on this Guitar,” and I had my cell phone up with the Bon Jovi Lighter App going. But most of the people around us remained seated the entire concert. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I don’t understand people like that. Did I piss some people off because I wouldn’t sit down? Probably. Do I care? Not at all. Because I went to have fun and I did. At one point JBJ actually called a guy out because he wanted everyone’s hands in the air and that guy didn’t, and Jon wouldn’t leave him alone until he did. (I found that funny as hell. He’s like, “You think I can’t see you. I can see everything.”) The disturbing lack of lighters (or cell phones) being waved during “Wanted” bothered me.
Then again… I can’t help it if I’m just cooler than everyone else. *giggle*
This man has charisma to burn. I mean, he had everyone engaged. Sure he slowed it down and talked a little bit, but that’s okay. They’re entitled to catch their breath every once in a while. Does he dance around as much as he did during the “Slippery When Wet” or “New Jersey” tours back in the eighties? Not at all. Are my panties in a twist over it? Not at all. I mean, look, I’m in my thirties and there are things I can’t do like I could do a decade ago in my twenties. He’s got almost twenty years on me. He physically can’t do like he used to and that’s okay with me. The man is a born showman, and it (pardon the pun) shows. He does some of the most goofy dances (he admits he can’t dance, hell neither can I), and I find him the most adorable goober when he does his version of dancing. (In my world that’s a compliment.)
I think one of the most amazing things to me was the end of the show when all seven members of the band (Jon, Phil X, David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh MacDonald, Everett Bradley, and John Shanks) got up to do their stage bow. They all high-fived and hugged one another with smiles on their faces. These guys truly are a “group.” I loved that.
Eleven years ago, I saw Poison (great show), and the thing that stood out to me was that they were so damn happy to still be on the stage in front of people who still wanted to hear their music. Bon Jovi took that mentality and doubled it, because not only are they happy to have people who want to hear their music, it’s so blatantly obvious they enjoy playing, and playing together. That, I have found, is something that comes through and makes the entire evening more enjoyable. Kind of like watching Keith Urban live—he loves playing guitar and it shows, which makes him so damn intriguing to watch. JBJ loves to sing, these guys love to back him, and I’m so damn lucky I had the chance to see them live.