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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bon Jovi: Inside Out


1) Blood On Blood; 2) Lost Highway; 3) Born To Be My Baby; 4) You Give Love A Bad Name; 5) Whole Lot Of Leaving; 6) Raise Your Hands; 7) We Got It Going On; 8) Have A Nice Day; 9) It's My Life; 10) I'll Be There For You; 11) Wanted Dead Or Alive; 12) Livin' On A Prayer; 13) Keep The Faith.

Yes, it is 2012 and Bon Jovi can still afford a live album. No, they are not going to put any songs from their latest studio record, The Circle, on it because that album sucked and they know it, even if you have to really get them in a ditch in order to admit it. Yes, it has lots of titles that you will most likely recognize; in fact, you can probably predict two thirds of the setlist with your eyes closed. No, there is not a single reason in the world to own this record, listen to this record, or remain aware of this record's existence.

Let me, therefore, be very brief here and say that the «Bon Jovi spectacle» is really nothing like the «Rolling Stones spectacle», despite both of them being spectacles. At his old age, Mick Jagger may prance around the stage so much that keeping in tune becomes an impossibility, and Keith Richards may be forgetting more and more chords and harmonic rules with each passing year — a 50-year old Jon Bon Jovi and his lead guitar pal are doing their jobs far more properly, singing and playing in tune, diligently working their asses out without their superstar halos getting the better of them. But nothing can save us from the fact that Bon Jovi are boring. The band is just... no fun. They are standing there, playing their boring songs in their predictable ways. They are boring when they are serious and they are even more boring when they try to be funny. They are boring when they do stage banter, they are boring when they interact with the audience. They are professional, they are tuneful, they are pretentious, they are irritating — but first and foremost, they just make your milk curdle.

It may be just me, but it also seems as if they are now reducing all their songs from all their peri­ods to exactly the same «alt-rock» formula. You couldn't really tell here that ʽBorn To Me My Babyʼ or ʽLivin' On A Prayerʼ were written in the Eighties, that ʽKeep The Faithʼ used to be so very Nineties, or that ʽLost Highwayʼ is from their short-lived neo-country period in the 2000s. It's just the same old gray grind all over the place. No mistakes, nothing out of tune, just a bunch of experienced rockers giving a good time to some friendly folks in an arena or two. This is how they live now — beginning ʽLivin' On A Prayerʼ with an actual «prayer» in an act of trans­cendent spiritual unity between the Artist and the Audience. It's all very emotional, really. You can also get an accompanying DVD (Live At Madison Square Garden) where there are many more songs and you can actually see the heroes being... uh... heroic.

Anyway, better for Bon Jovi to go on ʽLivin' On A Prayerʼ than ʽLiving In Sinʼ, right?..

... I don't think it's a good idea to attempt to continue this review.