Wow. Gillette. My backyard. I’ve been waiting for this all tour.
I had T (from Arkansas) and Willow (from Jersey) up for the weekend; Tara (from NY) couldn’t come because her poochie Stu threw out his back, and needed his Momma to take care of him. T arrived Thursday night, and Hathlet and I picked her up at the airport and took her to our favorite barbecue restaurant. We spent all of Friday getting acquainted-in-person, ‘cause although we’ve known each other for years, we’d never met. I’ll post details of what we did pre-show on the Fictionista blog. Suffice it to say, we had a GREAT time. I’ll just sum up Friday with one sentence: Midnight dinner of sausage, biscuits and gravy.
Now, on to Saturday. I’m feeling a little chatty, so I’m not jumping straight into the review. I wanna tell you a little about our day. Set the scene if you will…
The day started gray and icky (yes icky) but cleared up in the early afternoon, and we were overjoyed that the rain was going to miss us. We had plans to meet a bunch of others at the Dunkies (Dunkin’ Donuts for those who don’t know) that’s just before the stadium around 4:30, because we all wanted to park together in the lot. Around 3:00, one of my “home friends” arrived. At 3:30 my sister in law (who took Tara’s ticket) came, rarin’ to go. At 3:45, the heavens opened up.
I’m talking torrential rain. I mean, animals lining up in twos and looking scared. It came down so fast that you couldn’t see it. Within minutes, we had three inches of rain in our driveway.
Now, RAIN + JOVI = WET JOVIs which is of course, not at ALL a bad thing. Some of the best shows were rain shows. We were resigned to donning our $1 ponchos and getting a little wet, all in the name of the Jovi. Then the thunder peals came.
Nothing delays or cancels a concert quicker than a lightning storm (we learned this first-hand at Meadowlands earlier this summer).
But, nothing was keeping us from our show, certainly not a little bit of rain, so we packed ourselves into the Ford F-150 and headed out for Gillette.
Now, being local, I know how to get there without hitting all the main roads. I can get us to within a mile of the place before I have to venture onto Route 1. And I did. But the road was gone.
As in, under about 2 feet of water. Now, I had the big ol’ 4-by, but it’s Mr. Hath’s truck, and I was damned if I was going to wreck it by driving through a small river which I swear had its own current. So we flipped on the GPS and headed up an open road. We wound up at the VIP entrance / Emergency exit, and weren’t allowed in, but circled around to Route 1 from the opposite side of where we wanted to be. No Dunkie’s meet for us.
By the time we arrived at the stadium, the rain had stopped. By the time we backed into our parking spot, piled out of the truck, and got the drinks out, the skies had cleared somewhat, and the sun was beating down on us.
Even God likes a Bon Jovi show – no rain for us!!
Sadly, we missed most of Mission Hill, which sucked because I really wanted to hear their set. The people in front of us, the family with small kids for whom I was horrified during Kid Rock’s set, know the guitarist from Mission Hill, he’s the kids’ guitar teacher. How cool is that?!? We also met with Yukiko from Tokyo Tramps who is friends with the Mission Hill guys, as well as one of my from-home friends who came to the show with me. Yukiko was completely lovely, and I was glad to meet her.
The Bon Jovi set opened with Blood on Blood, which is a great opening song. The Boston Globe had it right when they said it was
“an album track that might have seemed an oddly obscure opener if it weren’t about the unbreakable lifelong bond between childhood friends. It established a degree of resonance for both the four men at Bon Jovi’s core and the fans who have stuck with them this long. It also connected with the theme that Jon Bon Jovi sang about more than any other: the importance of living a life chosen by him and nobody else.”How perfect is that for a description of this song? I still think they should open with Happy Now or Bullet, but Blood definitely gets everyone up on their feet.
The first of three, yes THREE, songs from the Circle was We Weren't Born to Follow, which is typically the #2 song in the set. It’s a good song, and shows just how many of us WERE born to follow. I know some folks at the show who’ve been to dozens of Circle shows this year.
You Give Love a Bad Name was a crowd pleaser, and even the little kids around us knew this one. Lots of dancing and high energy, and of course, the sing-along at the end was roaring loud.
There wasn’t a single person NOT joining in on the NA-na-na-NA-na-na-NA-na-na-na-na’s for Born to Be My Baby. Solid performance, and Jonny didn’t have to ask us if we were with him out there or what, because we very clearly were. Boston loves Bon Jovi. Even if the seats are wet, and the makeshift floor they put down wildly uncomfortable to stand on.
I love the song Lost Highway, and am glad we got to hear it again. “Say goodbye to yesterday” has been my personal mantra for a while now, and hearing this song makes me smile.
When the opening bars of In These Arms started, we were all, ALL of us, silently saying, “Please, let David sing this one or at least open the song”. Nope, Not for us. I’m sure the Europeans and/or New Zealanders will get that. Maybe, MAYBE, if they come back through the US at the end of the tour (isn’t there some rule that they HAVE to end the tour at Giants or MSG?) then we’ll get it. We’ll just have to wait and see. Of course, there’s always Chicago. . .
A show wouldn’t be complete without It's My Life, though a lighter rotation would hurt. But it’s one where everyone knows the words, and it’s guaranteed that the arms will all raise in tandem as we scream IT’S. . . .MY. . . .LIFE. . . Plus, it has the talkbox in it, and we all know how I feel about songs with the talkbox.
I love I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. It’s such a move-your-butt song. I think they should pair it with “Blame it on the Love”, but they don’t let me make the set lists yet. HIGH energy, great guitars, good time.
We Got It Goin' On was a rockin’ good time, though I’m a bit tired of this one, too. There are other great heavy guitar songs they could play. Though Jon did give props to Richie at the end of this one.
During Bad Medicine, Kid Rock joined the guys for the Juke insert (Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll), along with his femme backup singers who were just awesome. I caught a cute (short) sequence of photos on this: First, Jon asking David (though he didn’t get called Tony Bryan this time – Davey left his pretty trophies at home) if he had something, the second from when David started the opening riff.
Sadly, I think this insert got one of the best responses from the crowd. Not sure if it was because Kid Rock was coming out, and there were TONS of Rock fans out there, or if it was because it was just a cool, cool cover. When they were through, and Kid went back down into the pit, Jon gave us Shout! Usually, it’s just a teaser, so he can whip his head back and forth and try to dry the sweat (ha ha) but this time we got the whole thing. Very fun. It’s fun to see the guys playing someone else’s music that they enjoy.
Shallow note, this is by far the best picture I took the whole night. Freaking HELL, he is beautiful here.
It was then time for a little worshipping at the feet of the King of Swing as he gave us his all with Lay Your Hands on Me. I adore this song, and love that he’s doing it as his solo, but why drop Homebound Train from the rotation? If you want to talk about Bon Jovi songs for which Richie’s own bluesy style is perfect, you talk about Homebound Train. But, still, LYHOM is fantastic. What would make it better, is when the stage does dark, Richie does a growly intro… “They say that to really free your body. . . you’ve got to free your mind. . .” YIKES! For the other Richie Girls out there, how damned sexy would that be?
When Jon came back out, it was with a heavy suede shirt. What the heck was he thinking? Someone told me that performers (in general) wear long sleeves are because there are fans on stage (and I could see hair blowing around, so I guess that could be why) and they get cold. Uh, COLD? It was something ridiculous like 90 degrees with 87% humidity on Saturday night. COLD is not one of the adjectives I’d use. Still, Bed of Roses out on the circle was very nice. No dance with anyone, but he did take a seat on the stage. Richie’s solo was off-the-hook powerful, and I swear I felt my soul quiver a little.
Jon then called Richie out to join him for I'll Be There For You. I know I’ve said in the past that Richie’s voice is better suited to this than Jon’s and I loved it when Richie sang this as his solo last tour. BUT, nothing compares to the two of them together at the mic on this. It was absolutely gorgeous.
The other guys joined the Dynamic Duo on the circle for Someday I'll Be Saturday Night. I like the acoustic version of this song, though when Tico came out with his tambourines, and nobody put the big box up on stage, I knew we weren’t getting Something For The Pain, which is too bad.
When the guys went back to the main stage, the world became cracked, and they sang When We Were Beautiful. This is second of the three songs from the Circle that was performed last night, and we didn’t get the whole Me Generation speech, which made it far more enjoyable.
I will admit to sitting down for Work for the Working Man (third and final Circle song). I just hate this song. It’s a must-skip on the iPod, and the propaganda graphics irritate the hell out of me. Of course, that didn’t keep me from singing along, lemming that I am. Some things, you just can’t help doing.
A nice, loud, Have a Nice Day got me back on my feet. This is a fantastic live song. Lots of energy, and of course, Richie flipping off the crowd always makes me giggle. Jon came over to our side of the stage – the first time he did that in the show, and was right in front of our section. He wasn’t moving around as much as he usually does, so we figured either his leg was bothering him somewhat, or it was feeling just good enough that he thought he’d better not over do it. It in no way detracted from the greatness of this song or the show in general.
Since I don’t’ like Who Says You Can't Go Home either, I sat for this one, too, though I did stand to take a few photos. This is one song I absolutely REFUSE to sing along to. As an ironic twist of fate, it’s one of Hathlet’s very favorite songs ever.
The bassline of Keep the Faith had me up again, and looking forward to the fireworks at the end. Alas, ‘twas not to be. What with the rain and the forecast (including heavy fog), I think they decided it wasn’t a good idea. Kid Rock has pyrotechnics, though, so they could have done the fireworks. Who knows, maybe Bob Kraft put the kibosh on that. In any event, the song was amazing, and even though Jon had to have sweat away at least five pounds under that now sopping-wet swede shirt, he gave it his ass-shaking all. There was a pole in front of us during this song, so some maneuvers had to be undertaken to see the fun on stage, but we managed.
When the lights came up to the opening chords of Always, the first song in the encore, the crowd went crazy. So did we. T, my girlfriend from Arkansas absolutely adores this song. I’m so glad she got the chance to hear it live. Jon appeared to struggle with the vocals, but when we went back and looked at the video we found, it looked more like his mic was misbehaving. The band seemed to miss a few beats too, so I’m not sure if the problems were widespread, or they were just tired ;)
The little boy in front of us – couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 – had been waiting all night for Wanted. He danced on his seat the whole time and was utterly adorable, if not in the way. But none of us had the heart to ask his mother to move him out of our way. He’s a kid enjoying a rock show (though during Kid Rock, we cringed for his poor little ears) and we were not going to mess it up for him. The anthem was beautiful, as usual, and when they were done, when the boys raised their guitars at the end of the song, I actually got tears in my eyes. The crowd went crazy at the end of the song, cheering like they hadn’t all night. Jon and Richie took a few moments to bask in the adoration, as is their right, and their smiles were genuine and heartfelt.
I Love This Town was another crowd pleaser, and everyone really got into it. This is one song that I’ll admit I’m tired of, but is far better live than on the record.
When Livin' on a Prayer started, I was shocked to see people start to leave, to ostensibly try beat the traffic home. Come on people! Prayer! The Karaoke song of the century! Everyone, even people who don’t like Bon Jovi (all six of them) know this song. How can you leave during it?
But they did, which left more room for us to sing and dance, and when it was over, and the band came to take their bows, we were all a bit saddened to see the evening over, but jazzed at such a good performance.
Over the weekend, I was asked if the show was good, if it was all I’d hoped for. I answered honestly that it was a solid show, and what I’d expected, but not what I’d hoped for. Toronto got some fabulous songs (*coughDAMNEDcough*) and I was hoping that would set the tone of the Gillette show. But we got two fantastic ballads in Bed of Roses and Always, and the band was in a great mood so there were lots of smiles. Jon’s leg was feeling good, or at least good enough, and he led us through one hell of a good show. We could tell he was babying it a little, though; anyone who’s seen the Jovi Machine perform live knows how active and mobile Jon is. He was a lot more stationary this show (which made for fantastic pictures) but it did not detract at all from the evening.
Our encore was supposed to be only two songs (as per the printed setlist).
However, after the “main set” was complete, we think Jon saw that he was going to have more time before the 11:45 curfew than he originally suspected, so we got the four-song encore. Mission Hill and Kid Rock did start earlier than anticipated, and the boys took the stage at 9:15. We were all thrown for a loop, because we were waiting for “This is our House” to signal the start of the Main Event. Thankfully, we all pee fast (TMI, I know) and were back in plenty of time for the start of the show.
Here’s a break down of the show. I wasn’t keeping track at the time, but it looks like the band is already switching gears for the Greatest Hits tour.
Only three songs from the Circle? And Superman Tonight, the “current single” was left out? For a record that Jon is so proud of, I would expect more of the songs from it to have been played. Not that I don’t like the classics, but I didn’t buy my ticket for the GH tour yet.
Overall, of the seven arcs that made up my circle tour this year, this show would rank at the bottom. It didn’t suck at all, just wasn’t as good as the others.
Sorry this went on forever. Guess I had a lot to say.