What: Bon Jovi
Where: O2 Arena, London
When: 22nd June 2010
There was much excitement when Bon Jovi announced a series of twelve nights in June at the O2 arena. Whilst initial ticket sales were brisk, once again the over-priced “top” tickets stuck on the later dates. There were many 2 for 1 offers in the last few weeks and then on Tuesday I ended up getting two tickets for free! Now I’m a gig fanatic and would normally pay good money for this sort of entertainment, however give me it to me for free and I’m a pig in poo.
That is not to under-value the show that Bon Jovi put on, there were many here tonight that paid top whack for their seats and certainly would have gone home happy. It is clear from watching Jon and the band that they still love to play live. During this residency at the O2 they change the set list every night. Jon Bon Jovi made a point of mentioning last night that they had played over 50 different songs so far before going on to introduce one of their rarer tracks called “Garageland”. It hasn’t appeared on their albums, well not the conventional ones, however it did make their “100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong” box set in 2004.
Bon Jovi are another band who can put together a set-list to keep all elements of their fans happy. A good mix of albums were dotted about the set, I made it selections from Ten different albums. Add to that the myriad of top hits played such as “You give love a bad name”, Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There For You” and Bon Jovi kept the crowd on their feet the whole night.
Tonight’s stage was an interesting one, a complete circle with a smaller circle inside that forming the main stage. The remainder of the larger circle was filled with standing fans in the pit. This was one of the rare concerts at the O2 where the seats at the side and rear of the stage are used. Bon Jovi weren’t really playing “in the round” and only occasionally faced and played to those behind. Added to that, hanging above the stage were a series of large screens that either worked independently or together at various stages helping set the mood for the track being played, from sunsets on “Wanted, dead or alive” to a mass of images on “Living on a prayer”. From the front these worked really well, unfortunately from behind occasionally these screens would have hidden the band from the audience. The one good thing about the screens was that they were double sided. Not much cancellation when you’ve paid £75+ for a seat.
This was a night of pure, unadulterated 80s soft rock, blond perms in abundance. Bon Jovi are masters of it. Jon certainly was on top form playing the band leader. He wouldn’t be happy until everyone was on their feet and joining in. His beaming, ultra white smile was a beacon that drew the eyes of the crowd. If they fell under his spell they would have missed a great set of musicians in the band who helped put on such a good show. Best known of those is guitarist Richie Sambora, however you also have multi Tony award winning keyboard player David Bryan. I’d have expected the audience tonight to be 40 somethings reliving the songs that made up their youth, however I was amazed at the cross section of ages. There were young and old from a perhaps eight year old to my left, to an eighty year old to my right. What was also evident was that they weren’t just here as casual listeners, they were fans. Bon Jovi have certainly got the formulae right and will appeal to many.
The band play the last two remaining dates of their residency at the O2 this coming weekend, the secondary ticket agency viagogo have some tickets at very reduced prices. If you haven’t already got yours then I would strongly recommend checking out Bon Jovi. Even if you only have a mild interest in their music I guarantee that you’ll know more songs than you thought and you’ll be singing one or two of them on the tube on the way home.