” I just want to live while I’m alive”…

Bon Jovi – Manchester

Well, you couldn’t get more of contrast in gigs if you tried. From the tiny and intimate church venue of Ed Harcourt – to the massive football stadium in Manchester for Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. Now you may have been surprised that this was on my list, but you shouldn’t be.

This was my 3rd venture to see the all American walking ad for toothpaste in 5 years and therein lies a problem – I will come to that soon – but I caught him in the same venue around 2008, then London in 2010. Both times I was impressed to a point.

The venue has been host to many gigs since opening and you would think that, by now, they would know what they are doing. Sadly that wasn’t the case on many levels – from the opening of the doors delayed by a full hour – no fun in the baking sunshine – to the amazingly inept stewards, it was all going on.

However, I will focus on the music rather than rant at that. The support came from Band A – no idea who as they didn’t bother to introduce themselves – not too disappointing as they were pretty poor anyway. A nicer surprise was support Band B – Starsailor – who seemed genuinely chuffed to be there.

They engaged with the crowd and succeeded in keeping most of their attention – not a bad feat considering by now, most were pissed and desperate to see Mr Jovi. By the time they did amble onto stage, the crowd was really ready to be rocked and Bon Jovi began a 2 and a half hour trek through new and old stuff.

Here is where I had my issue -petty I know –  you cannot fault the work ethic, you cannot fault the enthusiasm of a man who I swear looks younger and more handsome every time I see him – much to my annoyance – but it’s not just his looks that are in some time warp.

Sure, the set list differs slightly and yeah, we go for the karaoke element – but Mr JB’s shows are now beginning to look a tad jaded. Same routine, same banter with the crowd, same pouting, and same arms thrown around to the same drum beats. Albeit lacking a certain Richie Sambora

There was really no element of surprise, other than he failed to connect with a cover of Robbie Williams “Let me entertain you” – a fact he openly admitted later on. And as the new stuff kept coming and the crowd chatter got louder, only 2 further covers (The Doors and Status Quo) really got things back into the groove.

The hits were all there and really, thats why a good 2 thirds were there and the show ended with “Living on a prayer” – but whilst his new stuff hasn’t been too shabby on CD, his stage show is really “living on past glories” – which is a shame. I would not like to be one of the “Gold circle” repeat concert attendees to spend fortunes and witness it time after time – even if he did take time out to thank them.

So all in all, it was a bit of disappointment – the Pink concert knocked spots of this and if you read this Mr Jovi – I really do like you, but time to rip apart the setlist and the live set up – strip it back – get into arenas or smaller venues for a couple of nights and remind yourself what makes you special – because as much as people take the piss out of Bon Jovi at times, he is and their music was the soundtrack to a generation.

But hey, what do I know! Next up is KT Tunstall in Leeds on Monday – really interested to hear her new stuff as the last I heard of her, she was working with Mr Neil Finn on the 7 Worlds Collide part 2 project.

Anyway, here endth this ramble and here be Mr Bon Jovi with “It’s my life” – which is frankly fucking excellent.


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