I feel a bit crappy saying this, but it's been a few days since Bon Jovi's 2022 Tour ended (assuming no further dates are announced) and... thank Yoda that's over.
I mean, I love Bon Jovi. Obviously the classic lineup is unlikely to ever be together again unless they do some sort of reunion special for the 40th anniversary coming up. But even the current lineup is okay with me. Besides, I met Phil X a few years ago and he's just a really cool dude. And Jon is someone I've idolised for a huge chunk of my life. But I don't think he did himself, the band or their great legacy any favours going out there and sounding like he did last month.
If the speculation is true that this tour was just a contractual obligation to Live Nation after cancelling the 2020 dates instead of postponing... well, that's a whole other shit-show. And a pretty sad way to go out if this ends up being the end. 😢
Anyway, the last show of -- the tour? This leg? -- was in Nashville and here's what was played.
Nashville, Tennessee, USA - April 30, 2022
- Livin' on a Prayer
- You Give Love a Bad Name
- The Radio Saved My Life
- We Weren't Born to Follow
- It's My Life
- Beautiful Drug
- Born to Be My Baby
- This House Is Not For Sale
- Just Older
- Let it Rain
- Keep the Faith
- American Reckoning
- Whole Lot of Leavin'
- Do What You Can
- I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
- Lost Highway
- Roller Coaster
- Who Says You Can't Go Home
- Wanted Dead or Alive
- Bad Medicine
- I'll Be There For You
Selected videos from Nashville
"Livin' on a Prayer". "Limitless" was dropped for the first time this tour so they could open with "Prayer". Jon performed it from the back of the arena while mingling with the fans and it's probably the most fun a live "Prayer" has been in years. And he's definitely singing the bits he doesn't throw to the crowd:
"I'll Be There For You". If that does end up being the last thing they ever play on tour, it's a good song to remember:
Where to now?
I know there are plenty of fans who are totally cool with the current state of affairs and would happily continue to pay big bucks to see Jon multiple times a tour in his current state.
I also think the dudebros trying to build their platforms with "What is wrong with Jon Bon Jovi's voice?!" videos are pretty scummy.
But that doesn't change the fact that he just doesn't sound good. There are moments where he sounds okay... but it's not good... and once upon a time, he was great. If certain fans want to tell the rest of us that we're horrible humans for having functional ears, then that's okay. Because I know myself, and I'm not trying to take potshots at Jon -- I'm legitimately heartbroken.
He had vocal coach Katie Agresta with him in 2008, and he sounded brilliant -- better than he had in a long time. And then things started falling off the cliff around 2013, which I'm sure he was aware of since he started requesting a vocal coach as part of his rider during the Because We Can Tour. Mary Jo Duprey started working with him, as well as Everett Bradley, on the This House Is Not For Sale Tour in 2018, but it hasn't yielded the results we all want. (I'm in no way suggesting that's Mary Jo's fault -- she uses the same methods as Katie, after all. But Everett's probably a much better advertisement for her than Jon is.)
Is it a physical issue that's beyond repair? I've read people suggesting that Jon has a voice disorder like spasmodic dysphonia but I wouldn't have a clue about that. I just know that I don't want my idol going out there in front of the whole world (and thanks to the internet, it really is the whole world) sounding like... well, a professional singer who can't sing for toffee.
The acoustic set they were doing earlier on this tour had a lot of promise, and I think that could potentially be a way forward if Bon Jovi keeps touring after this. I know Jon wants to sell out the desert but an intimate acoustic tour would be pretty cool.
Anyway, while Jon takes an indefinite break and hopefully finds a way through this, Phil X is currently on the road with Kurt Deimer, supporting Yngwie Malmsteen.
Feel free to share your thoughts below. 😊