Thursday, January 21, 2021

Jon Bon Jovi sings Here Comes the Sun on Inauguration Day

After recent unrest, the inauguration of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris went off without a hitch. 

Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia recorded this performance of the George Harrison-penned Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun" for the event:  

The song fits the occasion and I like it, but it would've been nice to take the chance to showcase the still-very-topical 2020 album. "Do What You Can" would've worked well. "Let it Rain" would've been awesome. What do you think?

Here's the "Let it Rain" performance from On a Night Like This:

And because building bridges and tearing down walls is imperative right now, I thought I'd post a bit of a throwback... "Walls" from 2018:

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Monday, December 7, 2020

A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas + the Washington Post interview

A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas cover art, featuring a Christmas tree and baubles.
JBJ just dropped a holiday EP, A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas, which features three tracks:
  1. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover
  2. If I Get Home on Christmas Day - Elvis Presley cover
  3. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl cover

"Fairytale of New York" is actually one of my favourite Christmas songs, but the original version by The Pogues contains some pretty controversial lyrics so I did wonder if Jon was going to:
  1. change the lyrics to the offending verse
  2. skip the offending verse entirely
  3. go all out calling someone an "old slut on junk" and words of that nature
Unsurprisingly, he did not go with C. 😆 (He chose A.)

Jon also did an IG Live interview with Geoff Edgers from The Washington Post, which has been described as awkward. And frankly, it is. But I thought there were some cool moments too, like when they discussed the evolution of Jon's social consciousness, and whether or not he worries about alienating fans. Besides, awkward video meets are the epitome of 2020, aren't they? 😜

You can watch the interview on The Washington Post's Instagram:

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Monday, November 30, 2020

On a Night Like This: Bon Jovi 2020

Bon Jovi's pandemic concert documentary, On a Night Like This premiered on Facebook on Friday, but it was available on SiriusXM before that. If you missed it or want to watch it again, you can do so on Facebook and YouTube:

The band performed the 2020 album in its entirety, though not in the expected order (which was kind of good... kept me on my toes):
  • Do What You Can
  • Lower the Flag
  • Let it Rain
  • Story of Love
  • American Reckoning
  • Blood in the Water
  • Brothers in Arms
  • Unbroken
  • Beautiful Drug
  • Limitless

The performance was shot while David Bryan was in iso preparing to shoot his Broadway musical, Diana, for Netflix. Greg Mayo from the Kings of Suburbia filled in for him as he has for the other 2020 promo shows.

Bonus tracks were also performed and made available as an exclusive for members of the JBJ Experience but have since been leaked.

Here's "Luv Can":

And "Shine":

I enjoyed this. As a film, it was nicely put together. Performing to no one is awkward AF though. 

I would've liked more of Phil X rocking out -- his excitement is always a joy to watch. Though I was pleasantly surprised by John Shanks' guitar playing... too bad he can't get the "In These Arms" solo right. (By the way, Shanks has more musical talent in his pinky nail than I do in my entire body, but that doesn't mean I don't yearn for better versions of that solo.)

I guess the real litmus test will come much later, but a couple of months on, I still really like the album. It's more of a Jon album than a band album, but it demonstrated (to me, at least) that regardless of the patchiness of his voice these days, the dude can still write a banger.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

That Jon vs Richie thing again...

I wasn't even going to touch this one with a ten-foot virtual pole at first. But then people in my life, who aren't really Bon Jovi fans but know that I am, started bringing it up and asking for my thoughts on the matter. To the point where it started to feel odd that I wasn't saying anything when I have an entire blog dedicated to Bon Jovi.

So here goes.

Ahead of the release of 2020, Jon was interviewed via Zoom by Thomas Moser from Rock Antenne in Germany. Here's the interview:

At around the 9:50 mark, Jon was asked if he had any regrets in his career, to which he replied there were very few because even bad things had led to other good things. But he did say this about  Richie Sambora, which has been plucked out and republished elsewhere:

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish that Richie had his life together and was still in the band. And yet, you know, in a weird way it's because of his inability to get it together anymore that we went on and wrote This House Is Not For Sale, and it was a very strong record, and that I'm able to write songs like this. Maybe we would've gotten lazy. Maybe we would've been... I don't know where we would've gone. But through all that pain and heartbreak came this."

The reason I wasn't going to blog about it initially is that... I kind of put all this to bed a few years ago. I like Bon Jovi. I like Jon. I like Richie. I make no apologies about that.

I don't subscribe to the view that Bon Jovi is dead because Richie isn't there. Or that Richie was the One and Only True Talent of the band. That's pretty disrespectful to David Bryan and Tico Torres, who are still there as original members, and Hugh McDonald who's been around longer than Alec John Such was. 

But neither am I going to dismiss Richie's hugely important contributions to the band. Richie co-wrote some of my favourite songs of all time, songs that made Bon Jovi what they are. His guitar work and harmonies define a lot of what people recognise as Bon Jovi. So of course it's different now that he's gone.

Richie's pals came out to defend him and get stuck into Jon, including former Fox and NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly:

"I was in a dire situation with my family and I had to make a tough decision and I did and I'm sure people weren't happy about it"

Look, I personally don't buy the "I left to spend time with my daughter" story. Because a) you can do that without leaving your band in the lurch on the day of a concert, and b) for most of 2013, Richie was still talking about rejoining the band later in the tour. So I think spending more time with Ava ended up being a wonderful by-product of not being in Bon Jovi anymore rather than the reason. But I'm glad Ava seems to have turned out really well.

Is Jon seeking attention for his new albums by bringing Richie up? Perhaps. But I liked This House Is Not For Sale, especially "Living with the Ghost" (which is about Richie's departure, so obviously it couldn't have been written without it). And I think some of the songs on 2020 are the best material that's been released under the Bon Jovi name in maybe 20 years. Sure, it's a Jon-centric record, and probably not what they'd be releasing if Richie were still writing Bon Jovi songs. But it's a good album. Well, I think so, anyway. So I think Jon might actually be right about that particular silver lining.

And I'm eye-rolling pretty hard at all the keyboard warriors fawning over Richie's parenting while bringing up Jon's daughter's overdose at college. Like those same people wouldn't have been taking cheap shots at Richie's mug shot appearance after he was caught driving drunk with his then-10-year-old child in car.

But as I said before -- I like both Jon and Richie. Neither is by any means perfect, but their music is a part of me. I love the latest Bon Jovi album and I'm keen to listen to Richie's next solo album. I'd love some sort of a reunion someday, but I don't expect it to happen, and I'm okay with that.

P.S. I reckon the Rock Antenne interview with Jon was pretty good. That's probably been lost in all this drama. Another good one is the interview Jon did with GQ Magazine recently, where he talks about the making of 2020, the campaign against him in Buffalo, and patriotism.

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Friday, October 9, 2020

JBJ on the Rich Eisen Show

Jon Bon Jovi recently phoned into the Rich Eisen Show, where he talked about NFL, the 2020 album, the Soul Foundation and Soul Kitchens, and the late great Eddie Van Halen:

Rich Eisen is a sports broadcaster, in case you're wondering why so much of the interview is dedicated to Jon's relationship with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. American football happens to be my least favourite football code (sorry not sorry ðŸĪŠ), but the interview was cool.

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Beautiful Drug on Ellen

Bon Jovi beamed into Ellen for a socially distanced performance of "Beautiful Drug", which I assume/hope is the next single from 2020. Greg Mayo filled in for David Bryan on keys:

I wish "Beautiful Drug" had been the lead single. Having said that, the fact that the first two songs I did hear from 2020 were very uninspiring to me, and I now absolutely love the album, is testament to how strong the other tracks are. In my humble opinion, of course. Obviously if you hate the album, you'll disagree with those sentiments. 🙂

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Bon Jovi on the socially distanced Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Bon Jovi's 2020 album promo continued on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with Jon chatting to Colbert via video. 

Jon talked about working the JBJ Soul Kitchens and food pantries during COVID, being mentored by Sister Mary Scullion, his Catholic upbringing, and quarantining with his family:

And of course, they discussed about the new album:

The band then socially distanced to perform "Do What You Can", with Greg Mayo again filling in for David Bryan:

I really enjoyed the interview, actually. It seemed fun, relaxed. And in "Do What You Can", Jon appeared more animated than he has in some of other performances where the band has been playing to no one.

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