February 3, 2006

NTP Rocks out to Bon Jovi

So the NTP crew, accompanied by Lisa and Emily, rocked out with Bon Jovi at the MCI Center on Thursday night. This was the Have a Nice Day tour supporting their new album. The show was a good time and we had a blast.

First off, none of us is a huge Bon Jovi fan. We all own their greatest hits and we know their songs but none of were really into the new album. Our real connection to Bon Jovi is that they are one of our bar bands. Whenever we’re a couple of beers deep and I find a juke box you can bet money I’m playing “You Give Love a Bad Name” or “Livin’ on a Prayer”. We then proceed to sing at the top of our lungs along with the rest of the bar. When I heard they were coming to town I polled the group and we decided we needed to see them. Dave has seen them before but that’s his story to tell.

Our seats were on the floor in section 4. We were about three quarters of the floor back from the stage on the outside aisle. The seats were pretty good. We had plenty of room, good sightlines, and with the giant TV screens every band uses it was a good place to be. Lisa and Emily were sitting behind us in the first section of the bowl.

The show started out with a bang. The lights came down and the crowd went nuts when we saw figures walk on stage. When the lights came up Jon was no where to be seen. Then we turned around and he was singing from a platform at the sound board. He was about 15 rows from us and closer than that to Lisa and Emily. They opened with one of their new tunes but it sounded good. After he finished, security escorted him up to the stage and he walked right by us. Nate gave him a solid high five. He was wearing a ton of makeup, but it was more for the TV than a tribute to their glam days.

The set list was predictably heavy on the newer material. The group is pimping their new album and they seemed to put a lot more energy into their newer stuff than their old classics. At some points it even seemed like Jon was mailing it in, but as Lisa pointed out “at one point he said that he was tired and later Richie asked him how he was doing, and he said he was holding up”. I also saw him coughing during some of the songs so maybe he was under the weather.

The crowd was an interesting mix too. You had teeny-boppers that weren’t alive when Slippery When Wet came out, you had twenty-somethings catching them live for the first time (myself included), and you had thirty and forty-somethings reliving their glory days in their old concert t-shirts. The crowd didn’t put out as much energy as I was expecting. I think it had something to do with the set list. “You Give Love a Bad Name” was the second song. While it was nice to give the crowd what they want early, there wasn’t any momentum behind it. It’s like having a death scene for a main character at the beginning of a movie. It doesn’t give you the payoff you want. The band did make up for that with a great version of “I’ll Be There for You” and a real crowd pleaser in “Raise Your Hands”. The encore was the acoustic version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” that morphed into the album version with the audience singing the tune. It had the potential to be one of those transcendent concert moments but it didn’t quite make it. Still it was a great number. The final number was “Wanted Dead or Alive”. This was another potential great moment but it didn’t quite come together. Jon let the crowd sing most of the words and the audience didn’t really hold up their end of the bargain.

In retrospect, I’m really sorry that I missed Bon Jovi in their heyday. I really do enjoy their music and I saw flashes during last nights show of what it must have been like when they were in their prime. Still the band did deliver on a good show and I think the album name really does fit. I think we all can say we had a nice day.


Nate said...

I don't understand why they never play "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" live. ;-)

Brett said...

Maybe cos Poison sung it?