Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Bon Jovi performs at virtual iHeartRadio Festival

The iHeartRadio Music Festival went virtual in 2020 for obvious reasons (*cough* global pandemic *cough*) and Bon Jovi was part of it. Here's what they played:
  1. Do What You Can - featuring Jennifer Nettles on the big screen
  2. Lost Highway
  3. Limitless
  4. You Give Love a Bad Name
  5. Who Says You Can't Go Home
  6. It's My Life
  7. Wanted Dead or Alive
  8. Livin' on a Prayer
If you missed it when it was originally streamed, here's a video of Bon Jovi's set:

David Bryan missed the taping due to commitments with his Broadway musical, Diana. Greg Mayo from the Kings of Suburbia filled in on keyboards.

I actually really enjoyed this performance, even though it's a little awkward. There's no crowd, and Jon looks like he doesn't know what to do without a live audience to feed off. Plus, the fake crowd noises that have been edited into the broadcast don't quite seem to fit. 

But I had a lot of fun watching this at my desk. (Maybe I'm just itching for a tour that can't happen.) And I thought the debut band performance of "Do What You Can" was cool. I've mentioned that that's my favourite of the 2020 songs we've heard so far and it still is.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles reunite for Do What You Can duet

Way back in 2006, Bon Jovi won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration for "Who Says You Can't Go Home", which featured Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland. They've joined forces again, this time for a country duet of "Do What You Can". Because I guess the country-tinged band only version isn't country enough?

I'm not knocking country music here, just sayin'.

Anyway, here's the official video of the "Do What You Can" by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles:

If you're thinking it looks familiar, that's because it's pretty much the same video we saw last month, with clips of Jennifer added to it. But I had fun watching it again.

Jon and Jennifer had teased the latest collab before it was announced, with both of them quoting "Who Says" lyrics on their socials, followed by screenshots from different angles of the same scene in the video. So it wasn't really a surprise when we found out the duet was dropping.

What do you think of this version?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Bon Jovi releases Do What You Can video

The official music video for Bon Jovi's COVID-19 anthem "Do What You Can" has been released. Check it out:

It's kind of a mini documentary of the pandemic, interspersed with Jon walking around New York in a face mask. The rest of the band is absent, but there was a nice little nod to David Bryan, whose musical Diana was supposed to open on Broadway this year. (It will now premiere on Netflix next year, and is scheduled to open on Broadway in May 2021.)

Anyway, back to the "Do What You Can" video. It's fairly literal, I guess, but it made me hopeful that the situation around the world will get better.

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Kings of Suburbia's Hampton Water happy hour

In today's episode of Things I Never Thought I'd See, Jon Bon Jovi covered The Killers and Black Eyed Peas. It was part of Hampton Water Cares -- a virtual concert featuring Jon's other band, the Kings of Suburbia, and lots of bottles of Hampton Water rosé. The show was streamed on Facebook and raised money for World Central Kitchen's COVID-19 relief efforts.

Jon was joined at his studio (with plenty of social distancing) by Everett Bradley on percussion, Lorenza Ponce on violin, Greg Mayo on guitar and Carl Gentry on keyboards. Jon's son and Hampton Water Wine co-founder, Jesse Bongiovi, hosted the broadcast.

You can watch/re-watch the full broadcast of Hampton Water Cares on the Hampton Water Facebook page. The performances are also up on YouTube.

I really like Jon in acoustic mode these days. He sounds pretty good and it's the only time we can realistically expect him to pull out bonus tracks like "I Will Drive You Home". Plus, it was unexpectedly cool to see him having a bit of fun with "Mr Brightside" and "I Gotta Feeling", even if he flubbed the lyrics. I've affectionately renamed the latter song "I Gotta Feeling (Oh No, Somebody Sing the Chorus)". 

Jon also indicated during the after party on Instagram that there are plans to broadcast the 2020 album being performed live, in lieu of a tour.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bon Jovi releases album version of Do What You Can

Artwork for Do What You Can by Bon Jovi

We've previously only heard Jon Bon Jovi's coronavirus anthem, "Do What You Can", in solo acoustic mode. In case you need a refresher, here's the version Jon performed at Jersey 4 Jersey in April:

But now the electric "band version" that's going on the Bon Jovi 2020 album has just dropped.

It's a kind of rollicking country-tinged arrangement, and more lyrics have been added since April. At the moment I prefer the acoustic version, but that could change. "Do What You Can" is still my favourite of the songs we've heard from 2020 so far. The radio edit of "Do What You Can" is now available for streaming and download.

What do you think of the new version(s)?

Another thing... There are now inexplicably two versions of the album listed on iTunes for pre-order, with different track lists.

One is entitled Bon Jovi 2020, and this is the original album that was supposed to come out in May (the expected date listed for this one is now 31 December 2020). The track list is as follows:

  1. Beautiful Drug
  2. Unbroken
  3. Limitless
  4. Luv Can
  5. Brothers in Arms
  6. Story of Love
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Let it Rain
  9. Shine
  10. Blood in the Water

The newer version is just called 2020, and this has the release date as 2 October 2020, which is in line with what we've been told. The track list for this version is:

  1. Limitless
  2. Do What You Can
  3. American Reckoning
  4. Beautiful Drug
  5. Story of Love
  6. Let it Rain
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Blood in the Water
  9. Brothers in Arms
  10. Unbroken

So basically they've taken two tracks off ("Luv Can" and "Shine") and replaced them with "Do What You Can" and "American Reckoning" to keep it to a 10-track album? And if you pre-ordered the original version, you now have to pre-order again for the new version? I hope the latter is a bug that gets sorted out soon.


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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bon Jovi releases American Reckoning

Bon Jovi has dropped a very topical new song, "American Reckoning". And here's the lyric video:

The lyrics are not at all subtle, making specific reference to the death of George Floyd, which sparked a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and around the world.

The harmonica solo was unexpected and cool, although it helps draw inevitable comparisons with fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen. And once again, this sounds more like a Jon Bon Jovi solo track than a band song.

Cover art for American Reckoning by Bon Jovi
Speaking of Bruce, one of my favourite Springsteen songs is "American Skin (41 Shots)", which was also inspired by the death of a black man (Amadou Diallo in 1999) at the hands of police. I think "American Skin" is a better song than "American Reckoning" but I don't dislike "American Reckoning". Besides, if you're going to release an album called 2020, you might as well sing about stuff that's happening in 2020.

I know it often polarises fans when a musician "gets political", especially if they disagree with the views expressed or they see music as a way of escaping the harsh realities of the world. Jon's views have not been a secret though, and they've come through in his music before, albeit not as overtly as this.

Here's what Jon had to say about the song on Bon Jovi's website:

“I was moved to write American Reckoning as a witness to history,” said Jon Bon Jovi, “I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”

Now, Jon could be completely apolitical if he wanted to be -- he'd probably make a lot of people happier if he stayed away from these issues. And he's in a privileged position where politics aren't likely to have a significant impact on him personally. But for some people, what we call "politics" could literally be a matter of life and death. Or as Jon puts it:

"I'll never know what it's like to walk a mile in his shoes
And I'll never have to have the talk so it don't happen to you"

"American Reckoning" will be added to the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, which is now slated for release in October (although my iTunes pre-order says 'Expected 31 December 2020'. What?).

"American Reckoning" is available for download now. Net proceeds will be donated to Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal representation to people who have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in prison.

What are your thoughts on the song?

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Phil X & The Drills are Right on the Money

Earlier in June, Phil X & The Drills released a new single, "Right on the Money" through Golden Robot Records.

The official video for "Right on the Money" is a sign of the times... It edits together the musicians' separate performance videos (since they couldn't film together due to COVID-19) as well as videos submitted by fans:

You might even recognise some of these fans from the Bon Jovi tour. 😉

"Right on the Money" is available now from iTunes.

What do you think of the track and video?

While in isolation, Phil, Daniel Spree (The Drills bassist) and Randy Cooke also got together (separately) for this "live" version of "Fire" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience:

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