"Bon Jovi's spontaneity too contrived and synthetic"
|Wilkes-Barre Concert Review From A Local Newspaper
Bon Jovi's spontaneity too contrived and synthetic
By Al Choman
Citizens' Voice Music Critic
At Bon Jovi's concert at First Union Arena on Tuesday night everything went as planned. Exactly as planned as a matter of fact. And therein lies the problem.
The devilishly handsome young men from the state that Bruce built are now very much scripted, very much Hollywood, and the spontaneity that made young girls squeal with delight and males think they were hip is now too contrived and synthetic. Don't believe me? Ask them in Passaic, go ahead!
Oh, they still sound very much like the recordings. The musicianship has diminished little, but there is no substance. Jon struts on cue like he had Mick's choreographer work with him and Richie Sambora is looking to see what angle will come out best if there is press photographer within 50 feet.
Heaven forbid, to miss a photo op!
Sure, it took them a while to shed the New Jersey sound cookie cutter labels and they eventually made it. But what we have been left with is strictly from the corner of Hollywood and Vine. I knew this band when they used to rock 'n' roll.
The playlist was fairly representative of their body of work. "Shot From the Heart" jump started the crowd after a Star War's contrived appearance (via a spaceship elevator), of the band and a thinly done opening version of "One Wild Night."
Performing in front of a huge backdrop screen and stage-set brick wall, Bon Jovi was looking for the feel of the streets that help make them corporate rock's mainstay of the 1980s. But instead, they just sounded like the corporate darlings of rock's FM airwaves of the same decade anyway.
"You Give Love A Bad Name," "Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars" and "Born to Be My Baby" were not without merit. Sambora sounded at times like he was even going to stray from the script, but Jon quickly roped him back in.
"Livin' On A Prayer" and the title track from "Keep the Faith" had Jon sounding more like the Rev. Al Green reading from Jon's Book of Revelation Chapter One, Verse One. The popular "It's My Life" from the current recording "Crush" was the only glimmer of hope of anything worthwhile new.
Otherwise, everything was old, borrowed or blue.
Florida's Less Than Jake even proved way More Than Jon as the opening act and there is no need to recount that ballot at all! The punkish, ska sound showed a group hungry for success and really received less attention than they deserved from the Bon Jovi audience.
Bon Jovi may have made an awful lot of fans happy when they re-formed a while back.
The real question is did they do it for the right reasons and with the best intentions? It certainly seemed that the 10,000 people at the First Union Arena Tuesday night thought so. Or that if you stimulate and market correctly, it really doesn't matter.
(drycounty.com is posting a full review this time as it seems the article will not stay at its original address for long...)
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