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16 June 2001 - Milton Keynes, England, UK Concert Review 22 June 2001
Jon you hot shit you even the moon came out to see you tonight

A review by Michael Steele /

I think itís fair to say that my review for the Huddersfield concert aroused quite strong feelings amongst some of you out there. I recieved quite a lot of mail telling me how Iím wrong, and the concert was in fact fantastic. I canít argue with these people, most of them were at there first concert, and knew nothing about how much better Bon Jovi could be. I hope that a lot of the people who went to both Huddersfield and Milton Keynes now understands what I meant, and that Milton Keynes was quite obviously a much much better concert.

The day itself for me was much more of an event, I had a friend from Bradford coming to the concert, and Tom had a friend joining us. We left Manchester station at 5:30, arriving in at Milton Keynes at 7Ē30, and finally at the Bowl for eight. There was barely anybody there, and although we picked up our complementary black bin liners to sit on, but due to the heavy rain, they stored the water, leaving us quite literally sitting in a puddle. I managed to forget my coat, so was wearing only a jumper, although I was never actually cold, I did get drenched, (and Iím still suffering from a bad cold). This didnít dampen our spirits though, we were adequately cynical of the idiot trying to raise moral singing Jovi songs out of key. It seemed from the people around us, that the majority of the crowed were only actually going to get drunk, far to many people had bottles of beer, and I was very wary of avoiding people who were likely to throw up on me! However, we kept ourselves adequately entertained, talking and being cynical of the whole set up and organisation of the event. It was appallingly ran, nobody in charge seemed to know what was happening, and the crowed were getting quite anxious, I also thought that the gate system was awful, as it meant that it wasnít necessarily the people who got there first who got to the front!!

Once the gates were opened, it was a mad dash to the stage. We made sure (on principle) that we had our ticket stubs torn off, then proceeded up the stairs and into the ground. Iíd been told by one of our party of the slope down to the stage, and how we should pace ourselves to avoid falling. We ran full speed down the hill, nearly killing ourselves! We were fortunate that the grass was dry, or else I think we would have ended up causing ourselves serious damage. We went to the fan club area, but were told that we could only get in if we had our passes. Fortunately, we still got onto the front row, and found we had a perfect view. We were to the right of the stage, although still quite central, and found space to sit down, and take the weight of our feet. It wasnít really the position that we expected to be in considering we arrived at 8, but it was still a fantastic vantage point.

Having already seen the support acts, I was disinterested in both. Delirious seem to try hard, and to their credit their set did warm up some of the crowd. The lead singer seemed quite humble, and although I donít like their music, I didnít disapprove of them too much. Matchbox 20 were better, and although they donít play the sort of music I like, they were entertaining, and had one or two good songs. Support acts over, it was time for some supper, I shared the pizza I made the night before with Tom. It was surprisingly nice, the base was perfectly made, and the tomato was extremely tasty, I also took proportions not to add too much garlic. In all, it was very successful, and we ate well!

The band came on early, at about 8:15is I think, to the usual elevator music. I could tell straight away, when they were booting up the system, that the sound was much better balanced, and the volume was correct. I was disappointed with One Wild Night at Huddersfield, but there was not question of the power in the song on Saturday. The band seemed on top form, the sound shaking every bone inside of me with the sheer power and volume. Jonís scream was perfect, and his voice in general seemed very very good even from this early stage in the show. The band then went into Raise Your Hands, done to perfection, Jonís voice seeming to get stronger and stronger. The performance of the song at Huddersfield was fantastic, but it seemed much more special at the Bowl. I was suppressed at the difference in sound, I expected the band to be better, but the fact that the volume was loud enough, made the concert instantly better.

Bad Name was again fantastic, the band nailing the song perfectly, Jonís voice sounding fantastic. I didnít like the fact that the audience were singing the guitar melody at the begging of the song (the part going into the riff), Iíd prefer to hear Richie playing that! The band had began brilliantly, it seemed like a different band altogether had shown up. They were instantly more exciting, and rocked more, than they did at Huddersfield. It was the start I had been hoping for.

The band then played In These Arms, following the same set as Huddersfield. I think this song was better, but is still lacking from when it way played during the Faith tour, maybe not as good live now as other songs. Next was a surprise to me, Itís My Life. I didnít like the song at Huddersfield, but on Saturday, the song was performed to perfection, and was really quite excellent. It was nice to be able to hear Jonís voice properly, as he sang the song perfectly, again showing that his voice is was on top form. The concert was starting to get very warm indeed, and became hot with another brilliant rock song, Born To Be My Baby.
The band then turned yet another song completely around. At Huddersfield, Bed Of Roses was boring, a week spot in the set list, on Saturday, it was one of the best performances of the night. This is mainly down to the power in Jonís voice. The part which let the song down last time, ďI got nothing to prove....Ē was sang weekly last time, but Jon really found the rock in his voice, complementing the power chords which followed, quite literally making the song. It was amazing to hear. It was also great to hear the improvised ďTwo more timesĒ for Richie's solo. Unlike on Wednesday, where there was very little improvisation, the band were really jelling together on stage, and finding all the power in the set list.

I got the Girl was a big shock for me. Not that it was played, although it was the first time the band have performed it at one of my concerts, but that it was played so darn well! It comes across as a pop song on the album, but it was certainly rocked up for the live stage. I was very impressed with the song. Captain Crash...sorry, still not a fan, that sort of track should be played by a pop band, not a rock band!

Just Older was great, again much much better than Huddersfield. Wild In The Streets was just shown how much stronger Jonís voice was, getting the rock element of the song out. The solos were also really good, I think itís such a good song for bringing the band closer on stage, and did just that job tonight. Then came the first song which isnít part of the Ďnormalí set. Blaze of Glory was just fantastic, Jonís voice again, simply brilliant. Richie showing in the solo that he is every bit as good as Jeff Beck!

Now came one of the best parts of the concert. Lay Your hands on Me has lacked some power I think since Jersey tour, but it was retrieved on Saturday. The fireworks at the begging of the song found the power which had been lost for so long, and the band were working the song to extract every ounce of power from the song. Jon seemed on such fantastic form, the band moved into top gear, and were now showing why they are considered the best.

A definitive version of Faith followed. The band were treating the song as a rock song, and Jon going back to the 80ís with his voice. It was breathtaking to watch him getting the screams again! The tone in his voice was perfect, and you could tell now that he was using his full range, to drive the songs along. Sympathy For The Devil was great, very powerful, I think itís fair to say that the song works live much better with it, that without it. This was the point where all my faith in the band was restored, Iíd reluctantly began to ask questions about whether Bon Jovi were anything more than a pop band after Wednesday, but I then knew that they were simply the best the rock world has to offer!

Bad Medicine was again much much better, benefiting from Jonís radical change in approach with his voice. Richie's solo was really good, playing it with the right guitar to do the harmonics. I also recieved shout a lot better. I donít think it really works very well, and isnít a rock song, but because the band were so good, and I was so impressed, they managed to force it to rock!

The band went off, were they going to come back on we asked ourselves. Surely they arenít pretending that they wonít be coming back on when they know all the time that they will........

The band came back on and played a very impressive version of Iíll be there for you. This is one of the songs which really shows how good Jonís voice is. they did a terrible version of Zurich, and because of that, I didnít think it would be that good when they started, I couldn't have been more wrong. Jon was fantastic, and although didnít actually get the scream cleanly, seemed so caught up in the song that he did attempt the scream. This is what you expect from real rock singer, never backing down from screams, and tonight Jon didnít back down from one!

Say it isnít so, not a good song, far far to much of a pop song. Richie was flat, and after Jonís superb effort on Iíll be there for you, it was a little upsetting for him to choose a song with such a poor vocal part to follow. I wasnít to disappointed though, I did expect them to play it, and itís just one of those things that you have to look past.

Then to follow a poor song, the band did a definitive version of Sleep When Iím Dead. They were on fire, the energy level that the band, and Jon were displaying was quite phenomenal. Also, Jon did a quite sublime scream, the pitch and tone was very remanisant of the 80ís screams. To give Jon even more credit, he was not obliged to scream, this just shows how much Jon was up for this show, and how much the band rocked.

Tequila was much better this time, I donít know how much the performance different, but concert up to that point was much better than Huddersfield, and the crowed were much more suceptable to the song, also, I enjoyed it much more because I know it was not the end. Jon again persisted to show us that he is still the best rock vocalist, with yet another silver throated scream on Twist and Shout!

Band off again, almost sure that they would come back on again, it was clear that the band had unfinished business....

Someday Iíll Be Saturday Night was very good, fantastic version, which had lots of power to it. Itís a strong vocal track, and so worked simply because Jon was just so good! Wanted speaks for itself. Quite possibly the best song ever written (apart from Homebound Train), and was performed brilliantly by the band. Jon seemed to be at first allowing the audience to sing the first verse, but such was the rock mood he was in that night he took over and made sure the job was done properly!

The concert finished with a bang. Huddersfield was lacking a strong finish, but Bon Jovi finished as strong as they ever have at Milton Keynes. This was one of the best version I think the band have done since Keep The Faith tour, when Jon sang the high screams. He didnít unfortunate tonight, but his voice was amazing. Liviní On A Prayer has been taken with a softer approach of late, but the band really did make the song rock. Jonís voice was immaculate, catching all the notes perfectly, singing the song as it needs to be sang.

Iíve been going to see the best rock bands since I was eleven. Iíve seen the likes of Deep Purple (twice), Page And Plant, Steve Vai, Dio, and many others. Iíve also been to 4 Bon Jovi concerts (which isnít many compared with some of you out there, but considering Iím only 16, and the band persist in touring at inconvenient times, i.e exams, Iím not doing so badly. I would have to say that this concert was probably the best show Iíve ever seen, and if not the best concert (Manchester 96, and Deep Purple 96 are a little vague in my memory) certainly the concert that I enjoyed the most.

After Huddersfield I was so disappointed I was seriously thinking about not bothering with the band after this tour, and indeed, I think if the band were as bad at Milton Keynes, then next time around I would have only gone to one show. It looked very much like the band were just another commercialised pop band at Huddersfield, Milton Keynes was so much better. It was incredible to think that they were the same band! After seeing a show like that, it just makes desperate to see the band again. They have restored all my faith in the band, and after a show like that, you know that you have seen the best!

On the down side......Homebound Train??

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