It has been a huge couple of days in Botanic Park with Shania Twain on Sunday and now New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi rocking the Park. It would have been quite easy to get sucked in by hyperbole from the Melbourne show that they weren’t this, they didn’t sound like they did back in 1986, didn’t play that and the list goes on. The concert experience for me was a lot better than I thought it could have been and with a good airing of the back catalogue I left satisfied with my fill. Even better still was being able to share this concert experience with my ten year old who was at his first concert and what a first one to start off with.
Birds Of Tokyo got things going famously, I really like them and I think the crowd really did warm to them as well. I thought it was a ballsy move to play new songs that no one had heard before but maybe that was a godsend to test them out to see how play out and how the crowd react to them. “Welcome to the show my friends, we’re Birds Of Tokyo,” was what front man Ian Kenny said to open their set. Empire was an awesome then Ian Kenny tried to do the next without sunglasses as the sun was still beating on the stage to which he replied “nope!” Broken Bones had a theme running through it that you have to earn it and a few broken bones is a part of the journey to get where you need to get to.
There were so many great songs including I’d Go With You Anywhere, When The Night Goes Quiet and Wild At Heart which had a few new ones thrown in with Greatest Mistakes and Unbreakable. Ian Kenny said it was starting to feel good up there and when the band break out songs such as Plans, This Fire and Lanterns there was a sort of collective nod inferring “oh, it’s those guys”. The Bird Of Tokyo’s set was that good that Kenny described it as “beautiful” pulling out his phone to take a photo.
As the sun started to fade Bon Jovi took to the stage just on half eight and the crowd to the Australian flag appearing on the screen heralding the entrance for the band. The set list for Adelaide was different offering up a few surprises for fans opening with Lost Highway and Who Says You Can’t Go Home. Botanic Park really came alive with the huge radio hit You Give Love A Bad Name with energy running on full throttle on Raise Your Hands. Jon Bon Jovi said there was no place he would rather be and asking the crowd to show that they wanted to be here with them requesting they show the band what they’re made of. Hard to believe it has been five years since their last tour here but this time they were touring with a relatively new album This House Is Not For Sale to which JBJ joked “it was a big hit in America”. The title track in amongst some awesome video projections was great and Living With A Ghost from that album followed.
“It has been a hell of a long journey, thirty five year long year, it has been a long time, we used to be prettier back then but with age comes experiences, I’ll take you on time machine”, JBJ says before rocking his way through Runaway. There was a really deep moment where JBJ dedicated It’s My Life to two brave young masking wearing men who stood up to a child abuser in court who was found guilty and put in jail stressing the need that we need to protect our children. I don’t think there would have been many dry eyes when they showed these brothers on screen. It was a really powerful moment in the set.
The band behind Bon Jovi runs like a well-oiled machine but the stand out for me is guitarist Phil X who is an absolute gun assuming the role left by Richie Sambora. Jon Bon Jovi might not be able to hit the range that he once used to but that takes nothing away from his showmanship and the ability to entertain the crowd. Old songs, new songs, it was great to hear lesser lights in Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars get a go. It’s the hits that kept the crowd excited, singing and dancing with Keep The Faith, Bed Of Roses, Lay Your Hands On Me and Bad Medicine closing out the main set. The treasure trove of hits kept coming in the encore with I’ll Be There For You, Wanted Dead Or Alive and the epic moment of the night Livin’ On A Prayer which was outstanding which really did see Botanic Park come alive, the audience sing-a-long was something to remember. Not bad for a Tuesday night hey? How was your Tuesday night? Mine, pretty darn good!
Live Review by Rob Lyon