Bon Jovi Concert Review
|Chris Tarrant's Capital Request - September 07/09/2002 - Wembley Arena
This was a charity event held by "London's Number 1 Hit Music Station - 95.8 Capital FM". On of the DJ's, Chris Tarrant had invited several of his famous artists to perform at London Wembley Arena all proceeds going to London's Help A Child.
Tickets sold out pretty damn sharpish, and I was lucky to get hold of some. We were pretty much at the back, but never mind.
Other artists on the bill were (in order of appearance):
All Star Band (Mike Rutherford, etc.)
Toploader started off and were, as usual, very, very strong live. They sang their new single, then another one off the new album and finished with Dancing In The Moonlight. I jumped up for this one. "Sod it! I've paid £30 quid for this ticket, I'm gonna dance!" Quickly enough however, the rest of the stadium sprang to their seats and everyone was singing, jumping, clapping, and dancing along. Fantastic performance, making me realise (yetagain) that I have to go and buy their album.
Then came Appleton. They had a whole band "playing" behind them, but it quickly became apparent that it was a backing tape when they all started playing for the second song but no music came out. Very bad. Thankfully they were only on for two songs.
Then came the all star band. They were very very tight. Sang "The Living Years", "How Long Has This Been Going On", and "Looking Back Over My Shoulder!". Excellent performance, got everyone singing along.
Then we had to wait 20 minutes for Bon Jovi. But Oh My God, was it worth it !!!
They tore through the following set list :
Livin' On A Prayer
You Give Love A Bad Name
It's My Life
Wanted Dead Or Alive
Keep The Faith
They were on for around 50 minutes to an hour. A little short by my liking, however, this is the best I have seen them, ever !
The lights went out, and the chords for Livin' On A Prayer started ringing out. The spotlight then fell onto Richie who was wearing Union Jack pants and a kilt. He was doing his normal hammer on/pull off thing on guitar through the talk box. It was also Richie who spoke the words, "Once Upon A Time... ...Not So Long Ago". Then straight into the song, with Jon Bon Jovi's vocals filling the stadium. But where the hell was he ?
Only in the middle of the stadium, that's where! My fiancée nearly wet herself when we realised. It was a bonus for us, as it meant he was a little bit nearer to us. So instead of being a few millimetres tall, he turned out being a couple of centimetres.
Then he joined the rest of the band on stage. I was impressed that they had maintained the playing of the songs as they were recorded, and Richie seemed to be enjoying it as he was playing like a demon.
In fact, they were all giving it their all and really seemed to be enjoying it out there.
By the time we were into It's My Life, I was on such a high from the quality of the music, it was unbelievable. Every solo from Richie was absolutely spot on, with him pulling those guitar faces every single time. I have seen them 3 times before, but easily this was the best ever.
Then Jon Bon Jovi walked out after It's My Life to announce that Undivided was about the tragedy that happened on September 11th. The look on his face seemed to be full of pain. He started singing very ballad-ey, strumming on his telecaster.
However, this shortly changed when Richie and the rest of the band "blasted" in to accompany with him. If this is what the rest of the album is like then it seems that Bon Jovi have returned to their rock roots. The song was fantastic, music living up to the intensity of the lyrics.
Then the mood was lifted with them jumping into Everyday immediately followed by Bounce. However, someone must have been in for a right rollicking as one of Richie's pickups cut out at the beginning of the solo and he had to switch to the other pickup and play a different solo.
To play 3 songs from an unreleased album is a brave thing to do, however, they held their own live, and like I say, were just such return to roots songs that everyone loved them. Richie played a Flying V guitar during the 3 new songs and the pure sound coming out of the guitar was phenomenal. At one point during Undivided, Richie strummed out a power chord and just let it ring, while Jon sang a few lines of lyrics. The stadium was just filled with this low growl that just went on and on. Absolutely fantastic !
Then came Wanted Dead Or Alive. They resisted the temptation to dress up like cowboys and relied on the performance (much to the disappointment of several cowboy wannabies in the audience). Richie came out with a double neck acoustic, however, not his trademark one that he usually plays (but that usually accompanies the cowboy hat). The song was just phenomenal, as ever. Sang it like it was the last song of their last ever performance, and that is not a dramatisation.
Then we were into Keep The Faith, with Jon doing another talk to the audience for a while. But the song was still brilliant.
Before we knew it, Jon was singing out the beginning screams to Shout, and we realised that it would very soon be all over.
Sure enough, the song ended, and despite numerous demands of encores, we were greeted by Chris Tarrant who informed us that they were already in the car and away. So not a true Bon Jovi performance in that respect, as I was expecting at least one encore.
In closing, this is the best I have seen Bon Jovi live. The only downside to the night was actually trying to believe Jon when he said, :
"So I'm driving to this concert at around 5:00. I'm trying to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road. We're listening to Capital FM...."
Like he would really drive himself to the concert and listen to the radio....
Maybe I'm just being a little sceptical.
Review by David Bedford (firstname.lastname@example.org)