Bon Jovi returns to NZ

Last updated 09:25 22/06/2010

So you will have heard that Bon Jovi will return to New Zealand at the end of this year, playing two shows - Wellington's stadium, December 4, followed by Auckland, December 5.

Bon  Jovi

I have a funny history with Bon Jovi.

You see I was young enough for the band's music to make some sort of impact. I have already told the story of when I was the "tape operator" at my primary school's production of Cinderella; during half-time three of the coolest girls in the school performed a dance routine to a song from Slippery When Wet; I was the behind-the-curtain-dunce that cocked up his first DJ gig.

I wrote about that last time Bon Jovi came to New Zealand - they played Christchurch in January 2008. I was really just trying to point out that a) my primary school had staged our version of that scene from Donnie Darko where the girls bust out Notorious by Duran Duran (yes, long before Sparkle Motion - but click here if you're still wondering what I am talking about) and b) I made a passing comment that women who never really grew up and got over their teen crushes - most of them bogans - were the only ones that would go to a Bon Jovi concert these days. You let me have it. Well, the female bogans with Bon Jovi tickets among you did, anyway.

And now Bon Jovi is coming back. And I got a wee co-writing credit for the announcement story. Yip, you see a couple of weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Richie Sambora. Nice guy. A real motor mouth too - an interviewer's dream.

He was happy chatting about the size and scope of the show; about the fact that with over 120,000,000 in record sales the band was at its peak as a live act; about the fact that he really didn't care what critics thought of them. A Bon Jovi concert is, he told me, "for the fans". But he did chuckle when I asked him what the reaction had been like to the band's latest album, The Circle.

"It's been great - the fans love it".

But I needed to revisit that - you see, previously I had loved the segment where Bon Jovi cops it at the hands of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. (You can click here to see the whole segment.) Triumph zings the band. Sample line from his intro: "Tonight this New Jersey stadium will be filled with 80,000 people with 200 steady jobs." When he talks to Jon Bon Jovi he mentions that Jon is in the movie VampRichie Samboraires, then drops in "finally...a role that *requires* you to suck!"

Bon Jovi commissioned the piece. Sambora told me that "you have to laugh at yourself; if you can't then you are nothing".

I asked him if he had kept up with the reviews.

"Not really...but I'm sure they've all been positive. Although, Bon Jovi has never been a critics band. We don't make records for critics. We make them for people." That's fair enough of course. A band should make records for its fans - and should be happy if the fans are happy. Sambora sounded happy. I'm sure the bank hears him laughing regularly.

I asked if he considered critics to be human. "No...not really!" And he burst into laughter.

So, yeah, Sambora was good fun on the phone.

I wonder if I'll go see Bon Jovi. They really have made some awful music. But in the right time at the right place I still like bits of Slippery When Wet and most of New Jersey. I played in a band that covered Wanted Dead or Alive; it always went down a treat - even though I thought it was an absurd song to play.

The last song that had anything resembling a hook that I could appreciate was Keep the Faith; but by then the rot had set in at any rate. I'd rather listen to Bruce Springsteen's Human Touch than Bon Jovi's Keep the Faith.

Since then Bon Jovi's albums have been appalling.

I have had to review The Circle. I did that recently for The Dominion Post. I received a very angry emailed hate-letter from a fan who basically told me it was unfair to criticise them if millions of fans loved them.

I'd like to know if there are thousands of fans in New Zealand who love Bon Jovi; enough to fill two stadiums less than three years after their last visit here. Sambora seems to think so. And the promoter clearly thinks so.

Do you?

Will you go and see Bon Jovi? Or did you see them last time? Can you recommend them as a live show? Or would you refuse to even be seen dead in white jeans?

What are your favourite Bon Jovi songs? Can they be forgiven for the album Have a Nice Day?

I am presuming the three girls from my primary school's answer to Sparkle Motion will be there. Probably rocking out with their teen daughters; half a dozen between them...

The  Circle TourI reckon I probably will go. I look forward to hearing You Give Love a Bad Name and Living on a Prayer in a stadium - the fans elated.

But then I remember, it wasn't that long ago that I wrote this about Bon Jovi. And that pretty much captures my feelings toward the band.

Richie Sambora was a good interviewee though. I'll have a feature article based on the interview for The Dominion Post coming soon. Meanwhile, will you be keen to get some tickets in early July for the December show? Will you wait and see, think about it, then maybe go with a gang for nostalgia? Or would you rather go and see anything else?

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redsfan   #1   09:53 am Jun 22 2010

My missus is making me go. Id prefer to spend the huge cost of tickets on something more worth while like a box of booze or a new pair of slippers.

FAN!   #2   09:54 am Jun 22 2010

lol! Saw GM yesterday (thanks!) and here I am searching for info about tickets when I see this gem. You MUST go. Doesn't matter if you don't like them, its a MUST SEE. Best concert ever, and in my years, I've been to a few. Will be travelling for this one from deep south. Will be 3rd time for me. Auck 1998, Chch this last time. Don't have a fav song, just an all round good entertaining show. Go and see. Dare you :)

Dynasty   #3   10:00 am Jun 22 2010

I cant wait. Will be a fantastic concert!

Kirsty   #4   10:04 am Jun 22 2010

I'm one of those female bogans who never got over their teen crush, and I had a ticket to the last show, too. Musically, Bruce Springsteen was my first love, but I fell totally in LUST with Bon Jovi and it hasn't faded to this day, even after seeing Richie's pitiful mug shot or that appalling vampire movie Jon starred in.

In terms of their albums, I've always considered Bon Jovi to be rather cyclical. Their self-titled debut album and the follow-up, 7800 Farenheit were only OK, although they did spawn a couple of mediocre hits the band still plays life. Slippery of course knocked the ball out of the park and put them on the world stage; New Jersey was a very decent sequel. Keep The Faith began the slide into These Days, the first truly abysmal album. At that time, however, they sold out Wembley Stadium with a concert that, for want of a more original phrase, absolutely rocked. I have it on DVD and even via TV, the atmosphere is amazing.

After what I think was probably a much-needed creative hiatus, they returned with Crush which is up there among my favourites. Their commentary on the world post-911 is well-captured in Bounce, another favourite, but inevitably the slide began again with Have A Nice Day. Lost Highway is an unacceptable foray into country rock (how COULD you?!?!?) and The Circle is only okay... although better than Nice Day and Highway. I can only hope that the cycle is about to trend upward again.

I saw Bon Jovi live for the first time in 2008, when they played Christchurch, and Richie is right - they're a real stadium band. You can tell they make albums so they can tour and play live - it's where the fun is for them, and they make damned sure the fans have fun too. They feed off the fans, who in turn project more enthusiasm; it's a totally symbiotic relationship and I've never known anyone come away from a Bon Jovi concert disappointed, and that goes for those who aren't really fans and were dragged along.

I don't know yet if I will see them this time round - I would certainly like to - but I can absolutely recommend them, and absolutely guarantee that you'll enjoy it. It really is that simple.

Udo   #5   10:05 am Jun 22 2010

As I tweeted Si the other night I will probably go with a group of friends for nostalgic reasons. Slippery & New Jersey were a big part of my teens, and I quite like Keep the Faith. They haven't done more than about 4 decent songs since then, and the preceding 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit was a bit of a steaming mound. Still the Live in London DVD is a great concert and everyone I have spoken to that has seen them live says it was well worth the money.

Dee   #6   10:12 am Jun 22 2010

I'm only going for the following reasons:

1) I've never seen them, everytime they played in the UK they clashed with another gig I was going to (obviously gigs I'd rated over Bon Jovi) 2) everyone I know that's been rates them live including my 'musician' friends 3) Slippery When Wet was the third cassette I owned and everybody at school had it 4) it's in Wellington I can't handle hearing/or knowing a relatively big band is in town & I'm not there especially when I live not far from the stadium 5) I'm a bogan chick

Fi   #7   10:15 am Jun 22 2010

I really regretted not going to his show when he came to Christchurch. I'm seriously considering going to Wellington to see it this time though. I was so jealous of all my friends who went. Being born in the early 80s means that I can associate Bon Jovi songs with many stages of my growing up. BON JOVI ROCKS! (And I'm not a bogan)

M   #8   10:32 am Jun 22 2010

I would like to go and see them, I was a bit gutted to miss out last time. While I don't consider myself to be overly "boganesque", I do enjoy a number of their songs and it would be fun to see them just once. As a 12 year old, my Keep the Faith tape was on high rotation (mostly because it was one of only three tapes I owned). Sorry Simon, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I loved it.

The main thing is that I wouln't have to fork of heaps of cash to get to Auckland. If they weren't playing Wgtn, I wouldn't even consider it.

I doubt it would be a life-altering experience, but I'm sure it would be fun.

samm   #9   10:35 am Jun 22 2010

Keen do go, if only for the sake of being able to say I saw Bon Jovi live. Likely to be posseing it up with other like minded 80's teens.

Jacob   #10   10:53 am Jun 22 2010

After growing up in the back waters of Upper Hutt if I hear Living on a Prayer one more time I will almost certainly snap, suffer a catastrophic loss of muscle control, and inflict serious harm on who ever selected said god awful song.

I believe it was Metal: A Headbanger's Journey where the general theme was "Metal kicked assss! Then hair metal runined it. Then Metallica ruuuuled!". I enjoy this synopsis. Music can be fun, and hair metal must have been a lot of fun, but out of respect for the thousands of years of civilisation that has preceded us could they have tried just a little bit harder?

Perhaps bitterness taints my view. Most probably at one of my youthful parties a large group of people would be enthusiastically singing along to Bon Jovi just as I was consumed with the terrible realisation that I wasn't as cool as I thought I was. Perhaps Living on a Prayer is my Beethoven's Ninth. Maybe I'm a reformed criminal, twisted into a model of civilised conformity just as Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick predicted.

Mr Sweetman, it is entirely possible that your of hand comments have unlocked a very dark side to our justice system. Maybe now the fragments of memory, the faded blood stains, and the furtive glances can be pieced together to form a cohesive identity. My life have been controlled and contorted by cod psychology and misguided rehabilitation... and it's all the fault of Bon Jovi.

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