Just so you know, I'm not an arrogant person in real life, despite that bold title. ;)
In my previous post, I included my "dream" set list for the second Madison Square Garden show. I came up with it as if Bon Jovi were releasing a single show in its entirety for the first time, instead of chopping up both nights and packaging them together (as is most likely). With Jon's voice in better condition than it has been all decade, the show would have been a great way to commemorate the band's silver anniversary. Previous Bon Jovi live videos have been restricted by the limited space of VHS... I don't know how much space there is on a DVD but I wouldn't mind the band one day releasing a single gig on two discs, like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in Barcelona, where the encores were on a separate disc. Also, while I did stack this dream set with songs I enjoy, I tried to think of the audience too. I prefer "Right Side of Wrong" to "Undivided" but selected the latter because the former would be a mood-killing ballad and a lot of other diehards don't even like it. I prefer "Bed of Roses" to "Always", but selected the latter because it was their biggest worldwide single. So it wasn't a purely selfish exercise for me. ;)
Anyway, I promised you the reasoning behind my set so here it is.
Obviously the title track from the album and was played at every show this tour. It also opened most of those shows, except when the band has opened with a cover song. Despite the fiddle, it's a classic Bon Jovi "freedom" song and a nice way to kick things off.
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME
Bon Jovi's first big hit usually comes early in the set.
RAISE YOUR HANDS
It was either this or "Born to Be My Baby" for me. One gets people going with "nananana" and the other by getting them to raise their hands. While I prefer "Baby" as a song, it's been played at most if not all proper shows since 2001 and is already on the Crush tour DVD.
BLOOD ON BLOOD
Classic track from a classic album (New Jersey) that deserves to be on an official DVD. An excellent version of this was actually performed and I hope it's included in the final product.
IN THESE ARMS (David Bryan singing first verse)
Keyboardist Dave Bryan co-wrote this song and is an excellent musician in his own right. I thought his talents deserved to be showcased on an official DVD, particular since Richie Sambora gets to sing a song every night. Alas, it was not to be ("In These Arms" was performed on the second night but Jon sang the whole thing). Still, I'm hopeful this will make the final cut. JoviTalk regulars will understand the song placement too ("BOBITA").
WHOLE LOT OF LEAVIN'
Another track from the Lost Highway album which was performed at all the shows, probably due to the "Do we got it anymore?" line, after which the band pauses and Jon laps up the cheers. Good song.
I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD w/ Mercy + Start Me Up
"Sleep" has (somewhat unnecessarily) been considered a staple song by the band since the early 90s. On its own, it's no longer very exciting for the seasoned concertgoer, but it's amazing how much life is injected into the song when you insert a cover or two and turn it into a kickass medley. I chose "Mercy" by Duffy and "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones, a seemingly bizarre combination which has been done a few times this tour. The first time was in Munich and was one of the truly brilliant surprises of the tour.
WE GOT IT GOIN' ON
Another Lost Highway track that was played at every show. I personally think it's a pretty lame song (especially those god-awful lyrics in the chorus) but the talk box is cool and it creates a great party atmosphere when performed live.
BLAZE OF GLORY
"Blood Money" is a short acoustic song from Jon's solo record Blaze of Glory, which was written as a soundtrack to Young Guns II. This was another great treat for anyone who got to experience it and is the perfect intro to "Blaze".
I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Richie Sambora on lead vocals)
Apart from one of the Toronto shows when Dave sang "In These Arms", lead guitarist Richie always gets to show off his vocal talents for at least one song while Jon ducks backstage to change his shirt and blow-dry his hair. At some shows he has sung "These Days" or "Stranger In This Town" (the latter being one of his own solo songs) but there is no doubt that "There For You" gets the best crowd reaction. It was a hit song but not to the extent where having someone other than Jon singing it would be considered blasphemy. Richie's bluesy voice also suits the song.
LIVING IN SIN
When "Living in Sin" has been performed this tour, part of "Chapel of Love" has been used as an outtro. It sounds fine but I thought it would be cool to use one of their own songs. In the end, "Sin" was performed on the second night (with "Chapel of Love" again) and I'm hoping it will be on the DVD but wouldn't be surprised if they cut it.
Performed in its original electric glory during this tour for the first time in five years. What's more, Jon has been nailing the vocals and Richie's solos have just got better and better. While a casual fan watching the DVD won't realise how significant its inclusion is, the diehards will. This was performed on the first night and I'm sure it will be on the final product.
The opening song from the These Days album, which is largely unknown in the US. It deserved a run though, because a) one of the magic moments of the tour was when Bon Jovi shocked all of us by playing it for the first time since 2001 and b) it's such a great rock song that you'd have to be half dead not to get into it. :P
An epic masterpiece that, like "Blood on Blood" should not be left off an official video any longer. It was performed on the first night. It was also performed in Wembley '95 but cut from the Live in London video... but that was in the days of VHS; there are no excuses this time! ;)
IT'S MY LIFE
The song that introduced the band to a new generation in 2000.
WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T GO HOME
A song that won Bon Jovi their first Grammy and made them the first rock band to have a #1 song on the country charts. Does not need to be played at every gig outside North America (I don't know if Jon has realised that it wasn't a hit anywhere else) but this is New York. At any rate, it deserves to be on a DVD, regardless of what you think of the song ("It's alright!" - pun very much intended, and there goes my second major cliche of this blog's existence).
Written in the aftermath of September 11, "Undivided" was played once this tour. Jon preceded it with a bit of a political speech and I dared him to say it again on an official release, knowing it wouldn't happen because he's scared of alienating fans. But I picked this song because a) I thought the Bounce album should get some representation, b) "Undivided" is a cool rock song, and c) Jon's voice is a hundred times better than it was for most of the Bounce tour so why not show it off?
MAKE A MEMORY
A surprising choice for lead single from Lost Highway. Stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. "Memory" was played both nights and should be on the final release.
HAVE A NICE DAY
"Have a Nice Day", "Who Says" and "It's My Life" have been the key singles from this decade. "HAND" sounds a lot better this tour too.
LAST MAN STANDING
If "Just Older" was their anthem from the Crush album, this should be their anthem from Have a Nice Day. There was no HAND tour DVD and the electric version of this song should have been considered for one now.
LIVIN' ON A PRAYER
The crowd's enthusiasm makes it a good song to close the main set.
Cool surprise when it surfaced in Twickenham at the end of the European leg. Quite a few people also rate this as the best Bon Jovi opener so I thought it would be good to open the encore with it.
RIDE COWBOY RIDE
WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE
"Ride Cowboy Ride" is a neat 90-second acoustic song that would work as an intro to "Wanted" the same way that "Blood Money" works for "Blaze".
Jon shocked us with how well he sang "These Days" this tour (If you're brave, there are YouTube clips of how he sounded on it back in 2003). He could have showed the world on a DVD. Unfortunately, there weren't even any songs from the These Days album performed at MSG.
NEVER SAY GOODBYE
Might seem too cliche but it would have been a fitting way to end the tour IMO. Also, it was apparently on the set list for Twickenham, and scrapped in favour of "I Love This Town" and a cover of "Twist & Shout".
BED OF ROSES
After torturing many a diehard fan with the This Left Feels Right version of "Roses", the original version as it appeared on Keep the Faith was played again midway through this tour. So its story is similar to that of "Always". I went with "Always" in my main set simply because it was the bigger hit. "Roses" was played on the first night though, so let's see if it will make the DVD. :)
It may be a cover but Jon sings this better than anyone, including Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley. An audible because it was performed on the first night and was included on Bon Jovi Stripped.
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
From These Days, which is Bon Jovi's best album IMO. Apparently this song was also meant to be played at Twickenham and it would have been good to hear it if Jon was up to it.
IN & OUT OF LOVE
This was a long shot, given Bon Jovi never plays anything from 7800 Fahrenheit anymore. However, it was soundchecked earlier this tour and would have been a great treat for us diehards (and a fun song for casuals). It also appeared on the Cross Road compilation album so at least some casual fans would be familiar with the song.
SOMEDAY I'LL BE SATURDAY NIGHT
An audible only because it already appears on the Crush tour DVD. Great song.
BORN TO BE MY BABY
I basically subbed it with "Raise Your Hands".
Has been performed at nearly every show as a medley with "Shout!" for about 15 years, and a lot of seasoned concertgoers are sick of it. It's already on Live in London and Crush tour DVDs (although "Shout" was edited out of the Crush DVD). Find another medley song to interchange it with (e.g. "Twist & Shout", "Shake a Tailfeather") and it will be special for everyone again.
KEEP THE FAITH
It's already on a DVD but in hindsight I should have at least included it as an audible. Jon dancing around with maracas usually goes down well, and I'm very happy that "Faith" has been a regular on this tour. Actually I hadn't even realised I didn't include it. Whoops. I guess that's why Jon's writing the set. :P Anyway it was performed both nights, and I hope the "jungle scream" on the first night gets on the DVD.
Bon Jovi's first single and another one that will probably be on the DVD anyway, given it was performed both nights (On the second night, it was played instead of "Always" on the planned set). There is a piano arrangement of "Runaway" on the Crush tour DVD but the original version has never been released on one. Like "Faith", I probably should have included it in the dream set.
OTHER LOST HIGHWAY SONGS
Perhaps I should have included more songs from the album, given it was the Lost Highway tour. My main reasoning is that many of the other album tracks are a) not well known, b) not well received. I do like it personally but it's not exactly a party album. Secondly, there was already a Lost Highway: The Concert DVD where they played the entire album in order.
So there you have it. Thanks for reading, haha. No point dwelling too much on the past though... I'm happy for the actual DVD to be a composite of the two shows (the gems were split over both nights). I just hope they make it something really special, and include the rarer tracks that were played, instead of another Greatest Hits DVD like Live in London.
Until next time,