Thursday, April 23, 2020

Doing what you can in the time of coronavirus

From his home studio, Jon Bon Jovi performed "Do What You Can" in its entirety for the first time as part of Jersey 4 Jersey on April 22 -- a night of Jersey stars coming together to benefit the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund:

Inspired by life in COVID-19 lockdown, "Do What You Can" has had an intriguing journey. It kicked off in March when a photo of Jon washing dishes at the JBJ Soul Kitchen was posted to Instagram with the caption, "If you can't do what you do... do what you can."

A post shared by Jon Bon Jovi (@jonbonjovi) on

That became the hook of a new song that Jon debuted a few days later. He sang a verse and chorus and invited fans to add their own verses telling their own stories:

Selected fans' verses have been played by Jon and shared on Bon Jovi's social media channels in the weeks since.

Here's Jon singing verses by Adriana, Geoffrey, and Bryce:

And Jon at the keyboard singing verses by Kristen, Maritza, Tanya, and Luca:

Jon also showcased video performances from Clint, Eleven, and Andre:

Others have contributed their own verses, and at a time when we need the world to come together (but not physically), it's pretty cool to see the power of music, social media and technology at work.

Even though I didn't immediately rush over here to blog about it, I felt a sense of pride in Jon that I hadn't felt in a while. Not that I was ashamed of him or anything. But just like Bon Jovi has changed, so I have I. I still love them (and by extension Jon) and I'm sure I always will, but they're not the singular focus/obsession they were when I started this blog as a teenager.

Anyway, the pride I felt was because there was something raw and honest about "Do What You Can". At least I thought so, and it's my blog. 😉

We've previously heard two songs from Bon Jovi 2020 -- "Unbroken" and "Limitless" -- and I haven't loved them. I've kind of felt like they were trying too hard and not really hitting the mark. (Both the original and the Invictus Games Choir version of "Unbroken" are supporting good causes though.)

But "Do What You Can" feels real to me. It feels like a guy from New Jersey, looking at what's happening around him, and expressing himself through song. It may not be the greatest song ever written. And sure, his voice isn't what it was. It didn't matter. It was the right song at the right time, when I was looking for a spark of hope amidst the confusion and uncertainty. And that's ultimately why I keep coming back to Bon Jovi -- when I've needed them, they've had the right songs for me.

Speaking of the power of music... my last few posts have alluded to the fact that I'm playing catch-up on this blog, and one thing I didn't post at the time was this Chicago singalong of "Livin' on a Prayer" in March, inspired by Italians in isolation singing on their balconies:

It's testament to the endurance of that song. And who doesn't feel better when they're cranking up or belting out "Livin' on a Prayer"?

Back to more recent history, Jon closed Jersey 4 Jersey with an acoustic rendition of "Livin' on a Prayer" that felt appropriate:

We're living in tough times. And we're doing what we can to get to the other side.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Bon Jovi 2020 tour cancelled

Jon Bon Jovi jumps in the air. Text reads: Bon Jovi 2020 with Bryan Adams canceled.
Bon Jovi 2020 with Bryan Adams canceled.
In news that should come as a surprise to no one, the Bon Jovi 2020 tour dates that were due to begin in June have officially been cancelled.

Bon Jovi released this statement:

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, it is no longer feasible for Bon Jovi to tour this summer. Given these difficult times, we have made the decision to cancel the tour entirely. This will enable ticketholders to get refunds to help pay their bills or buy groceries. These are trying times. You’ve always been there for us and we’ll always be there for you. We look forward to seeing everyone again on tour when we can all safely be together. We will continue to send out news and updates on Bon Jovi touring in the weeks and months to come.

The Runaway Tours trip with JBJ in New York City that was scheduled for August has also been cancelled.

Jon was on Howard Stern's show recently where he went as far as to suggest his touring days might be over:

“We may never tour. This could be the end of touring, who knows?” Jon said, adding, “I’ve read these articles that ‘20 is out of the question, ‘21 is possibly out of the question. So, in ’22 when they tell you that you can’t play 50,000 people anymore, do you go, ‘Oh well, I can’t tour the way we used to’?”
The world has certainly changed in 2020. Is it a world where we've seen the last Bon Jovi tour?

Jon also told Howard the Bon Jovi 2020 album will be delayed and that new coronavirus-inspired song "Do What You Can" will be played in its entirety for the first time at Jersey 4 Jersey, which will raise funds for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

(And yes, I know I'm still behind with my blogging and still haven't blogged about "Do What You Can". I will, I promise.)

Let's finish this particular post with some good news: David Bryan, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, posted on Instagram that he has now recovered.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Unbroken ft the Invictus Games Choir

In my previous post, I talked about how COVID-19 had touched the Bon Jovi camp through David Bryan's diagnosis. Of course, the pandemic has affected many, many things -- one of which is the Invictus Games, which were due to begin in May 2020. (They've now been postponed until 2021.)

But back in February, before we knew what was coming, Jon Bon Jovi and Invictus Games founder Prince Harry got together for a special recording of "Unbroken" with the Invictus Games Choir:

The resulting song was released in late March. Watch the official "Unbroken" video:

All proceeds from this single will go to the Invictus Games Foundation, which aids in the rehabilitation and recovery of injured, wounded and sick military personnel. Download or stream "Unbroken" with the Invictus Games Choir.

"Unbroken" originally dropped in November 2019, with proceeds from the first version going to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation. The track will also be on the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, which is due for release in May.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

David Bryan's COVID-19 experience

In just a few short weeks, the world has become a wildly different place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the illness first touched Bon Jovi when David Bryan revealed on Instagram on March 21 that he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

I know he's copped a fair bit of flak for his "Please don't be afraid!!! It's the flu not the plague" line, given how many people have died and how many people are likely to still die. I'm thinking David was trying to reduce panic (like the kind that has resulted in supermarket assaults over toilet paper?) rather than be irresponsibly flippant. But he is also lucky he seems to have a relatively mild case (and as a fan, I'm grateful for that too).

David provided an update on Dana Perino's show a couple of days later, where he sounded more sombre, talking about his symptoms and how differently the virus has affected different people (e.g. his wife Lexi, who also tested positive but has no symptoms, versus others who have obviously been extremely sick).

Hope you're back to feeling 100% soon, DB!

While we're all staying home, here's something to watch and listen to... David singing "In These Arms" with Bon Jovi at Rock in Rio 2019:

And here's David's own version of "In These Arms" from his solo album Lunar Eclipse:

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Richie Sambora, 7 Years Gone

Firstly, I know I've been slack with blogging. With everything going on in the world at the moment, it's one of the things that has gone on the back burner for me, but rest assured I haven't forgotten about Bon Jovi. 😉

While I take some time to gather my thoughts (and the Bon Jovi content I've neglected to post over the past month), let's cast our minds back to this time seven years ago. It was a different world, and a different Bon Jovi. The second leg of the Because We Can Tour had just started... meaning we'd just been hit with that infamous show in Calgary in which Richie Sambora didn't turn up and the band ended up doing the gig with no lead guitarist.

Phil X, of course, replaced Richie for the rest of the tour, and every concert since.

"Like a moth dances with the light
Sometimes a shadow burns too bright
Shattered silence in the night
You wake up, move on..."
- Richie Sambora, Seven Years Gone

"Seven Years Gone" is probably one of the best tracks from the Aftermath of the Lowdown album. And even though Richie has become a somewhat polarising figure among Bon Jovi fans, depending on whose "side" you're on, there's no denying the guy had a significant hand in some great songs.

So here's "Seven Years Gone" just because it's been seven years and I wanted to post it:

And here's Richie performing "Seven Years Gone" on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2012:

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