Since 1984, Bon Jovi has graced the music world with songs that make women tear off their clothes, jump like fools and pump their fists. Since 1984... With 26 years and an extensive discography under their southerly clad belts, one would hope a Bon Jovi set list would be filled with these exciting, fist pumping songs. Oh, on contrary my friends.
Dashboard Confessional opened and the people behind me demanded that I sit down before I actually arrived to my seat. I didn't want to break it to them, but once Bon Jovi got on stage, I had no intentions to sit down. NONE! I used to listen to Dashboard during my lonely and depressed high school years; so taking my seat for them would be fine. Sadly though, this incident AND the band foreshadowed the actions AND feelings the rest of the night would bring. But at the time, I had high expectations for Bon Jovi and knew/thought they would lift my spirits.
However, opening with "Blood on Blood" and "We Weren't Born to Follow" brought only a scattered bunch to their feet. Until "Bad Name" started, finally the soccer moms stood up and screamed desperately for Richie Sambora's flat-ironed hair and plastic face to play to them. I felt elated and just knew that things would continue with the upbeat pace.
But then they quickly reverted with six new songs in a row (sit down) then "It's My Life" (stand up) and a cover of "Hallelujah" (sit down) originally sung by Leonard Cohen. If you don't know that song, pour yourself a bottle of wine, download the Jeff Buckley version and brace yourself for tears. Why Bon Jovi decided to sing that at a 20k person venue that wasn't there to raise money for Haiti is beyond me.
It felt like Catholic Church. And after a fistful of acoustic hymn-type tunes and Jon Bon jumping up and down with a tambourine, my friends and I chose to flee.
Forty five minutes after our departure while discussing not the concert but our daily sins at a nearby Denny's, a friend posted on Twitter that they finally sang "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Livin' on a Prayer" for the encore. The charm of an encore has clearly been forgotten, Mr. Jovi. You don't make people stay for the encore. You make them stay because they WANT TO STAY through the blessed joys of unison praise to hits, one after another. The encore is for shock value, leaving a surprise for the end. NOT YOUR TWO BIGGEST HITS, YOU PRICKS.
As we walked out, I took note of a snippet of lyrics that summarized my emotional and physical feelings: Give something for the pain, something for the blues, something to get me through the night.
A turkey melt, seasoned fries and a prayer before bedtime did that for me. Not Bon Jovi, and not the nostalgia that utterly lacked at HP Pavilion.