Friday, November 30, 2007
The web site is here.
The address is here:
4031-33 Oakton Street
Skokie, Il. 60076847-677-0811
Feel free to email me with any questions you may have.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE
GLASS, TOOLS, CHEMICALS, METALS, BEVELS…. EVEN GIFTS!
LIVE DEMONSTRATION OF THE “BEETLE BIT” GLASS CUTTING SYSTEM
WITH INVENTOR RAY NICHOLAS
Cutting geometric shapes and borders has never been so easy!
FUN HOLIDAY CLASS OFFERING!!!
BLOWN GLASS ORNAMENT CLASS
AT OUR OPEN HOUSE DECEMBER 1ST
ONGOING CLASS FROM 1PM-5PM
PAY AT THE DOOR IF SPACE IS AVAILABLE.
THIS CLASS IS ALSO OFFERED ON NOVEMBER 10TH &
DECEMBER 15 FROM 10AM-12PM PREPAID $40
LEARN TO BLOW GLASS ORNAMENTS AND DECORATE THEM! “GLASKOLBEN” IS THE NAME FOR A PRE-BLOWN GLASS CYLINDER WITH A BLOW PIPE END USED FOR BLOWING GLASS BALL ORNAMENTS. IT IS THE SAME PRODUCT USED THROUGHOUT EUROPE FOR MAKING CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS.
WE WILL BE DEMONSTRATING HOW TO MAKE GLASKOLBEN BLOWN GLASS ORNAMENTS AND LET YOU BLOW TWO ORNAMENTS YOURSELF AND DECORATE THEM WITH GLASS PAINT. AGE 18+. THE CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED TO 12 PEOPLE AT A TIME IN THE WORKSHOP. BRING OR PURCHASE PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR.
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COST: $75.00 PREPAID FOR 5 WEEKS
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MOSAIC TABLETOP CLASS
$75.00 PREPAID FOR 1-DAY WORKSHOP. INSTRUCTOR: JUDY CUENO.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD 1PM-4PM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15TH 1PM-4PM
GLASS FUSING I
$85.00 PREPAID FOR 1-DAY WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR: ANGELA BEUCLER
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH 6:00 PM-9:00 PM
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6TH 6:00 PM-9:00 PM
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$150.00 PREPAID FOR 1-DAY WORKSHOP (w/ lunch included).
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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17TH, 10:00 am- 3:00 pm
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Instructor: ANGELA BEUCLER $85 PREPAID, DEC 13TH 6-9PM
In this 3 hour workshop students will have the opportunity to fine tune your jewelry design skills.
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How to design and create a 1” x 1” tile to experience etching techniques on dichroic glass on the fourth piece.
Instructions on how to use a band saw and/or other various grinder bits to prep a second piece for wire wrapping. Basic wire wrapping techniques will be taught.
All materials included in the cost of the class. You must wear eye protection, long pants and closed toe shoes.
INTERMEDIATE STAINED GLASS
EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FROM 6PM-8PM
COST: $20 PER INDIVIDUAL SESSION OR
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Instructor: Tricia Smith
2007 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE WISHLIST
GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE
( ) TAURUS II OR TAURUS III RING SAW
( ) BEETLE BITS GLASS CUTTING SYSTEM ( ) FLYING BEETLE CUTTER
( ) CUTTER’S MATE ( ) CIRCLE PRO OR ( ) STRIP PRO
( ) GLASTAR ALLSTAR GRINDER
( ) GLASTAR SUPERSTAR II GRINDER
( ) GRYPHON ZINC SAW
( ) TOOL KIT- BASIC OR DELUXE
( ) STAINED GLASS LAMP
( ) WELLER SOLDER GUN ( ) WATERFORD SILVER FRAME
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( ) DIAMOND TIPPED GLASS ENGRAVER ( ) FUSED GLASS JEWELRY
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( ) GLASS CUTTING L SQUARE
( ) MORTON GLASS CADDY
( ) GLASS POLISH WAX
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( ) REPLACEMENT TOYO HEADS
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Thursday, November 29, 2007
Regardless, when I decided to not judge a book by its cover, I found an artist using her voice as a powerful instrument that was as awe inspiring as a Prince guitar solo. I thought to myself "If she ever dumps the tramp image, she'll truly become an artist". That happened a little over a year ago with the release of her daring double disc album Back To Basics. It's a rather awe inspiring blend of modern pop with blues, jazz and soul wrapped up into a rather stunning package of songs. I must admit, I didn't think she had it in her to make an album this expansive, wide ranging and fun!
I was lucky enough to catch her show this past April when it made a stop in Chicago and while I would have liked to have seen less theatrics, I couldn't help but be impressed with how far she has come in a very short time. I figured she would fade from the spotlight after her debut and she's fought a good battle and continued to grow. As she ventures into motherhood, I can only hope she continues to further her boundaries not just as an artist but as a mother as well.
Now for those of you who really can't wait until the official onsale, I will give you a few hints.
1) It's the title of a Bon Jovi song.
2) It's the title of Sheryl Crow's fifth studio album.
That's all I'm giving you.
That we have planned
-“Minutes To Memories”
November 14, 2007
Great artists sculpt their art from within their souls expressing feelings and emotions people can hold onto and hopefully make them reflect on their life and the world they live in. Paintings, films, statues and albums are more than just forms of entertainment; they remind us of the beautiful things in a world full of malice. Musicians have the unique ability to channel their entire career into focus over a two-hour concert that can demonstrate different forms and themes every few years. Each album and song makes the canvas from which they paint all that much more expansive. One can’t make a collage of paintings or films in the same way musicians can continually evolve specific themes with their growing catalog of songs. For well over a decade, John Mellencamp has largely been a human jukebox in concert churning out his frat rock anthems to the masses and at times, I’ve felt he was merely running through the motions. But on his current tour the tide has dramatically turned. Instead of youthful rebelliousness of decades past, I saw an artist, parent and American who is pondering what will be left for future generations expressing genuine concerns about what tomorrow will bring. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such raw emotional vulnerability from an arena artist who has sold tens of millions of records. Over the course of the thought provoking 100-minute show, John Mellencamp momentarily retired his biggest arena anthems in favor of a collection of songs that form a morality play about the dissolution of the American dream and the isolation of its people.
“Pink Houses”, his signature song which has closed the main set of every single one of his concerts for well over two-decades, opened the show and was a sign of things to come. An average fan and onlooker would assume this was done merely to shake things up, however they would be inordinately wrong. He crafted a meticulous eighteen-song set to use as a catalyst for this concert which in essence was a morality play. Ironically, every review I have read has overlooked this point and to neglected to look beyond the individual songs. Mellencamp was making a statement right out of the gate with a song that in reality is about the failure of the “American Dream” despite its arm waving chorus. This isn’t the cocky snarl that brought him eternal fame from two-decades past, but a mature vocal of a man who has seen an entire country struggle with maintaining a decent quality of life. The larger than life pop-hooks were omitted, replaced with an edgy set of material whose characters are wrangling with the ghosts of the past, present and future.
“Paper In Fire” was performed with a brisk raw gusto. The rustic performance accentuated the vocals so one would truly digest to the lyrics. As the opening electric set came to a close, “Check It Out” spoke volumes as an arena anthem, disguised as a moral tale, which questions who we are. Is everything we do an illusion? The opening salvo of “Pink Houses”, “Paper In Fire”, “I’m Not Running Anymore” and “Check It Out” was proving that everything we know and see appears to be an illusion. These songs would normally be a triumphant encore for most artists, but for John Mellencamp it was a way for him to lay the groundwork for an ethical lesson which found him questioning the morals and motivations of the wealthiest country in the world and the people who embody it.
The band drifted off stage which left nothing but Mellencamp, six strings and the truth. The four song acoustic set showcased a reflective Mellencamp. On “Minutes To Memories”, a ringing tale of hope, you could see the profound conviction with which he sung the lyric “You are youth and you are the future”; the reedy warmth of his vocal had a terse edge to it, underlying a sense of uneasiness which proved to be a watershed moment for me. The lyrics literally jumped out in this bare composition. It’s not a nostalgic trip down memory lane but a telling tale of the here and now. People often love Mellencamp’s music because it takes them back to a specific time and place in their lives, but I view his work as progressive, urging us to not look back, but forward. This forward thinking mentality was also applied to “Small Town”; which I felt was him questioning how America has become a crazy island where we are adrift and isolated individuals. I felt as if Mellencamp was trying to demonstrate how our great nation has become deeply divided. The sense of community appears to have been lost and many of us are walking aimlessly through life alone. These songs are paired together to give us insight as to how to embrace our lives in the here and now and not thirty-years from now when it may be too late, this was part of the moral from the new composition, “Young Without Lovers, Old Without Friends” which found the crowd singing along. “Ride Back Home (Hey Jesus)” was equally well received and was performed with understated urgency speaking to the need for direction. This acoustic set, while on paper appears to be nostalgic, is more of an intense inner look at how isolated people have become from one another. It doesn’t matter if you live in a small town or the big city; we’ve all become vulnerable to seclusion.
Besides radical reworking of classic songs, Mellencamp appeared to be reborn with a handful of new songs, which should appear on an album he has been working on with producer T-Bone Burnett in 2008. “If I Die Sudden” reminds me of the type of song Dylan would have performed a few decades back with the Band…but only better. “Jena”, which has soared across You Tube, finds Mellencamp at his best as a songwriter in fifteen-years. Mellencamp is pissed, provoked and passionate in his delivery of these new songs and if these performances are any indication, it may lead to his best record in well over a decade. He’s questioning the events of our world and wondering if sanity will prevail. He doesn’t have an answer but what he does have is a passion for these songs which were harrowing and chock full of incendiary discharge. If the studio versions are half as determined, we are in for one hell of an album.
“Are you ready to dance” is how Mellencamp addressed the crowd as the evening was drawing to a close. “Crumblin’ Down”, “Lonely ‘Ol Night”, “Jack & Diane” and “Authority Song” triumphantly followed as they closed the evening out bringing the communal feelings of the arena and the lyrics full circle. It should be noted that arena anthems “Hurts So Good”, “Cherry Bomb”, “R.O.C.K. In The USA” and “Wild Night” was MIA as they thematically did not gel with the story Mellencamp is telling on this tour. These final four songs were the Easter Sunday portion of the performance as he strove to resurrect not just the characters in his songs, but those in the crowd as well. Beneath the struggles and desperation, we believe in a creed where there will be a resurrection and Mellencamp did just that with his stinging protest rock.
The entire evening teetered between the introspective and the revealing and one of the reasons it worked so gloriously is because this band’s intensity matched the material and the vision Mellencamp had. The performance was acute, intricately crafted and may very well have been the best I have seen Mellencamp in a decade and a half. He found himself severely redefining his own songs while broadening the story and his legacy with a few new ones. The revitalizing performance was subtle when it called for and superbly unsubtle when it needed to be. Unlike other artists, Mellencamp didn’t preach inherent moral superiority over his audience but instead, put himself inside the shoes of those who listen to him and the collective audience found an artist who proved to be the voice of their worries and concerns. John Mellencamp, at this stage in his career, has raised the stakes and is transmuting the power of his catalog to not just open our eyes to our surroundings but hopefully have us walk away with a lesson or two in the process.
Screamin' out their words
Those words will be heard
By future generations
Ridin' on the highways that we built
Maybe they'll have a better understanding
-“Check It Out”
Afterward: I can offer only one suggestion to Mellencamp on this current tour; make the show a little longer. Nobody wants to see any show this fierce and focused end too soon. I would add one rocker to the opening portion (“Crazy Island” or “We Are The People”), another to the acoustic set (“Weakest Moments” or “Between A Laugh & A Tear”), two to the second electric set (“The Americans”, “Teardrops Will Fall”, “In Our Lives”) and one more in the encore (“Now More Than Ever”). Add five songs to the show and every reviewer and fan will be overwhelmed and want to see more shows in the future.
Rockford, IL Set list :
Paper in Fire
I'm Not Running Anymore
Check it Out
Minutes To Memories
Ride Back Home (Hey Jesus)
Young Without Lovers (Old Without Friends)
Ghosts Towns Along The Highway
Rain On The Scarecrow
If I Die Sudden
Lonely 'Ol Night
Jack and Diane
Photo's courtesy of Paul Stinsa and Unrated Magazine
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I later bought the band's excellent 21 Singles compilation to wet my appetite and I may now be ready to delve deeper into this band's back catalog.
According to Billboard, the band is reuniting after eight years and will be recording soon. It'll be interesting to see how this material comes out. More importantly, hopefully I'll get to see them live and it won't just be a ten-minute show full of nothing but distortion.
YouTube Link To Final Scene in Lost In Translation
"Just Like Honey" Music Video
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here's how it will read:
Chapter One: Crappy Childhood
Chapter Two: My Introduction To Drugs
Chapter Three: Stone Temple Pilots And How I Stole the Spotlight From the Real Talent
Chapter Four: I Couldn't Handle Success So I Turned To Drugs
Chapter Five: I Still Can't Handle Success So I Turned To More Drugs
Chapter Six: How I Avoided Jail With a Really Good Lawyer
Chapter Seven: I Was Scared About Going To Jail So I Turned To Drugs
Chapter Eight: How I Avoided Jail With a Really Good Lawyer Part 2
Chapter Nine: I Was Scared About Going To Jail So I Turned To Drugs Part 2
Chapter Ten: Joining Velvet Revolver
Chapter Eleven: I Turned To Drugs Because Living Up To Axl Was Too Much To Deal With
Chapter Thirteen: How I Avoided Jail With a Really Good Lawyer Part 3
Chapter Fourteen: How I Ruin Kick Ass Songs With My Winy Voice
Chapter Fifteen: I Found God, He Helped Me Get Sober & I Am Reborn Making the Best Damn Music of My Life With the World's Most Dangerous Rock Band (Velvet Revolver)
Drug abuse and addiction is no laughing matter but somehow, I will never be able to take Scott Weiland seriously because the guy threw away so much in his life and brought pain to many of those around him even though his talent was marginal. I have a bad feeling this book will glamorize the drug use (something in my mind that is sadly done in Slash's new book). I think he diminishes Slash's talent and adds noting to Velvet Revolver.
I truly wish him a clean, healthy and happy life, I just wish he would stop making music and not write any books because I doubt he will enlighten me in a way that hasn't been done in hundreds of other books. He's a survivor from the 90's who in my opinion didn't deserve his success in the first place. My apologies for the negative post, I just know of a few people who have had first hand encounters with this fake rock star and every single one of these people have walked away without a single nice thing to say. I can think of dozens more artists who deserve platinum success and Scott Weiland is not one of them.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Plus with a rumored Soldier Field show in July? That's well over 100,000 seats to be sold in less than 5 months. That is a tall order. Hey, I wish them luck...but I'll probably be sitting this one out.
However, what I always admired was the fact that these guys continued to do what they did because they loved music. They had a need to express themselves and be heard and beneath all of the jokes people make about rock bands from the 80’s, one can not write off their optimism and love for music, or else they wouldn’t be playing it today. Regardless of what you thought of their music, Kevin DuBrow died earlier today at the much too young age of 52. It’s a reminder of how short life is and you never know when someone you took for granted is gone.
My dear friend and mentor, Lonn Friend, waxed poetically on Kevin because he knew him earlier today. Lonn’s quoted in an article on MTV and I highly suggest you check it out here.
The two leads in the film are in a group called The Swell Season and the male singer is from a well renowned Irish band called The Frames. These are artists who just a year ago was performing to less than 100 people in major cities like Chicago, New York and Boston. In the past two months, they've been performing to sell out clubs and theaters. But my point is that the Swell Season would be performing every night whether ten people were there or ten thousand were there. I saw pure love of the art form of music on full display last night as the stage boiled over with such highly emotive songs that were so refreshing and innovative I wanted someone to pinch me to make sure what I was seeing was real.
The 100-minute set was spot on and nothing short of stupendous. Look for a full length review in the coming weeks, first on antiMusic and then here as well.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Sorry for the lack of updates, but things have been insane. I went to visit my Father-in-laws family in Omaha, Nebraska. It proved to be dizzying and stomach achingly good. I did the whole gamut from spending over 16 hours in my car listening to the best tunes to hitting the mall to horse back riding to eating an entire cow at Stella's. I come from Chicago and I know my red meat and let me tell you that Stella's has one of the best damn burgers on the planet. I made the mistake of ordering the doule burger. If history proved anything, places that have double burgers tend to have thin patties. Not this time. I basically ate so much that I didn't need to eat another meal (I also think the half pan of rice krispie treats at my wife's aunt's farm helped).
If you are in the Omaha area, do yourself a favor and stop by. Great burgers, homemade fries that will make you salivate and a little piece of Americana spruced up by the new owners (still family). I was shocked to even see that I was included as part of the family tree on the menu.
Stella's cane be found at:
106 Galvin Rd S, Bellevue, NE 68005-2119
Tel: (402) 291-6088
As for music and movies, I'll be back full time on Monday with a slew of new reviews and op-ed pieces. I'm out the door to catch The Swell Season tonight at the Vic. You may not be familiar with the name of The Swell Season, but if you have seen the movie Once, then you'll know full well who they are.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Faith, Glory and Medicine for the Masses: Bon Jovi Blows Away the Windy City by Lonn Friend (courtesty of Lonn and antiMusic)
There he stood- like a battle torn warrior, looking like some kind of mythic figure in the flesh. You know, the guy who had his mug on the Editor’s page of RIP Magazine, the guy from Headbangers Ball, and the dude from “Behind the Music”. Standing mere feet in front of me was the one and only Lonn Friend. He had a beard and was wearing an Anthrax jacket…just like you would imagine back in 1993. At the time, I was too intimidated to go up and introduce myself…for the time being. Lonn wrote about the Bon Jovi concert and after being profoundly moved by it, I wrote to him and after a while, found myself in regular correspondence with him.
Bon Jovi is a band who has been under the microscope lately here at antiMusic. Trust me, I would love for nothing more than to herald them and their business decisions weekly, but far too many things have occurred this year for me to do so. One of the reasons we have been covering them is because many of us here feel invested in them. When they want to be, they can be the greatest live band on the planet. Bon Jovi is a band that I have always felt the mainstream press never truly got and largely still doesn’t. In the review below, you will find that Lonn’s recollection of this particular evening is beyond inspiring…it’s divine. This event is only given limited space in ‘Life On Planet Rock’ and to kick off the “from the vault” series of Lonn’s writings, I couldn’t think of a better piece to start with.
Here at antiMusic, we love music first and foremost and like opening people’s eyes, minds and hearts to artists in ways never deemed possible. In my humble opinion and regardless of the band’s current output, the review that follows is among the greatest ever composed on popular music. I hope you all enjoy what is hopefully the first of many "from the vault" articles by Lonn Friend.
November 20, 2007
Faith, Glory and Medicine for the Masses: Bon Jovi Blows Away the Windy City
By Lonn Friend
I've seen a million faces an I've rocked them all
I was standing in the backstage hallway of the Allstate Arena when the lights went down. Instantly, the 17,000 sold out faithful exploded into a thunderous din the likes of which I hadn't heard in years. As the band poured out of the dressing room to my left and headed for the stage, Jon Bon Jovi altered his course and grabbed my arm. "Lonn, go out to the front of the house!" he yelled in my ear at a volume barely audible above the hurricane crash shaking the massive room from the side to side. "You have to see the opening! Go!" With a high five from Richie, Dave, Tico and Hugh (McDonald, bassist), I dashed around stage right and battled my way to the sound board as the massive video screens extending the length of the performing platform high overhead lit up with images of the band members in varied behind the scenes wide-angle poses. As the camera follows their elevator ride to the stage, each Jersey boy mugs for the lens in a "pre-game mug" while the crowd reacts wildly to their faces with ascending explosive roar, crescendoed by Jon, smiling that disarming, street -born-rocker -done -good smile. The elevator doors open onto the stage and out walks Bon Jovi, alive, extremely well, and holding a secret they will shortly reveal to every single human body in the room over the two and a quarter hours: TONIGHT WILL BE AS GOOD AS IT GETS.
Vaulting into an exhilarating "One Wild Night," notice is served early that the five years the band's been away from the American road has spawned a magnificent hunger in not just the fans whose '80s/'90s support drove their multi -platinum star a mile or two past Alpha Centauri, but in the guys themselves. What isn't widely known across our great land is that the rest of the world -- namely Europe and Asia - have never blinked in their support of Bon Jovi and continue to pour out to stadiums in droves with an almost religious dedication no other band in the world except perhaps the Stones and Metallica can touch. Last month, they destroyed Wembly Stadium's 80,000 strong in what both press and public called one of the most awesome live rock events in U.K. history. As "Night" segued into the first classic of the evening, "You Give Love a Bad Name,"
I took off my Friend-of-the-band cap and began observing as the eternal, journalist/rock fan I've always been. What hit me instantly was the complete, almost mystical comfort the guys had with their instruments, their movement, and their performance. The comic book opus, "Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars" off the CD that resurrected Bon Jovi to the domestic commercial masses, Crush, brought Jon into interaction with the crowd and prepared the pulpit for the back to back uplifting anthems, "Faith" (wallpapered by some amazing, fast-cut political/spiritual images that married beautifully with the song) and "Living on a Prayer," a sing-a-long moment so splendid, I could not find a single set of jaws not flapping happily. The room was like a gargantuan campfire, one voice, one spirit, one helluva moment. Then came "Born to be my Baby" and the evening took on almost dreamlike qualities. They were five, but they were one. No, beyond that, they were 17,005, and they were one.
Bassist Hugh McDonald, who took over for Alec John Such during the Keep The Faith sessions, looks like he's always been in the band. His groove is tight, effortless, fluid. Drummer Tico Torres, the foundation on which the Bon Jovi building was constructed, has never hit 'em harder or with more confidence. He is passionate yet playful -- a bad-ass ballet of balance. Winding his keyboard textures around every melody, Dave Bryan's nimble fingers add the color to the black and white. His subtle yet articulate presence a joy for both eye and ear to behold. The set pulls back now for an acoustic "Runaway," the match that lit the Bon Jovi fire some 17 years ago. I note here that there are moments in the song where you can't even hear Jon's voice due to the volume in the building. The audience was almost Beatle-esque in their constant, unwavering mania. With surgical precision, the band then cut into Jon's solo classic, "Blaze of Glory," heightened to brave new levels by the players he knows best, a testimonial to the camaraderie once again shared most notably by Jon and Richie, whose "marriage" through the ages has been both rock solid and just plain rocky. Of this I speak as an insider, someone who's sat down at the Bon Jovi family table and broken bread many times since I first met them in the early RIP days on the New Jersey tour. Jon and Richie are the epitome of that rare and amazing frontman/guitar hero metaphor. They're strength and success has always come from the combination of their individual talents/energies: the synergy of the magnetic, superstar vocalist and the reserved, cool, soulful shredder. There was a time they battled for the same turf. No more. Wisdom gained from time and experience has fostered a mutual respect so strong, no outer or inner forces of evil can tear it apart. Richie Sambora is one of rock's great guitarists, both in his deftless picking and bigger than life onstage persona. He strikes the musician's pose with a humble confidence, sans pretense, never overshadowing the Man. Like Page, Perry, Richards, Slash, Edge…they complete the picture, occasionally stealing the show, but forever content with the on deck circle.
"It's My Life" soared out of "Blaze," an anthem of both resurrection and affirmation. For those in the "business" who - cloaked in their flavor of the moment "new" rock fascinations - were shoveling dirt on the Bon Jovi casket a couple years ago, this song was a bolt of on-high lightning. Again, the masses sang, in unison, in spirit, loud and proud. This track contains a very simple line but one of the best I believe Jon's ever written. "I just wanna live while I'm alive." We live in an oft times toxic culture where good people get sucked into death and depression because they forget what a miracle it is just to be here. Existence replaces living. It doesn't matter if Jon Bon Jovi's motivation in life is money, power, fame, enlightenment, philanthropy, ego or an eclectic mixture of the above, the effect he has on those real people, those precious, wonderful fans who take their hard earned pennies just to be present for a couple hours of entertainment - in this way, he dons the hat of prophet. Like his neighborhood hero Bruce Springsteen, he preaches the gospel of rock to throngs who gather for a couple hours to just plain feel good about themselves, their lives, and the fact that they've been blessed with an archetypal love of the most inspiring music on earth: rock n' roll. Prepare for a digression.
During "I'll Be There for You," I was standing on the stage on Richie's side where two dozen fans each night get the band's eye view of the festivities. God Bless Metallica for the Snake Pit tour, the first time a band invited the fan up top for a view. The perspective is breathtaking. Korn, Limp Bizkit and others have taken the cue over the last decade, enhancing the concert experience for a lucky few each night. Anyway, I noticed a girl standing twenty feet away pressed up against the barricade in front of the stage. She was throwing me that "pleading stare," the one you get sometimes when you've got a laminate (all access pass) around your neck. Her teary eyes wrestled from their fixation on Jon, to me, back to Jon. I walked down to address her as the song soared toward its finale. I've come to identify those whose passion for certain artists go beyond the normal parameters of "fan." "Please, please, please, I just want to touch him," she grabbed my arm, begging, her face wet, a shimmering lakebed of pain and pleasure. This was one of those precious children (I guessed her age around 20) so deeply immersed in the "star," she would undoubtedly go to questionable lengths just for a lock of her hero's hair. My heart cracked as I stared into her desperate eyes. I went backstage and copied the band's set list and brought it back out for her, a sorry consolation prize, but all I was willing to offer. I was stricken with a bit of guilt when the set was over. Hey, an introduction wouldn't be so hard, but unfortunately, I couldn't find her. The disappearance inspired me to bring a couple other fans backstage with posters and introduce them to Jon just before we departed the venue for the hotel. If the girl with the set list ever reads this, send it to me and I'll get it signed for you; maybe with a few strands of Jon's hair thrown in for good measure.
The show was supposed to end with "Wanted Dead or Alive," but there was no way this madhouse was going to disperse without more. Not one body had left the building, sat down, or stopped screaming at the top of their lungs. The band came back with a spirited "Twist and Shout," after which they attempted again to leave, but Jon stood at the front of stage, soliciting more from what he confessed later to me was one of the best audiences he had ever played for. The exclamation point of the evening proved to be a sweet yet soaring "Never Say Goodbye." It was only the flaring of the house lights that finally sent the crowd out into the 20 degree Chicago night, satiated from a performance they will be calling their friends about tomorrow, and telling their kids about when they grow up and ask mom or dad about the "good ol' days of rock n' roll," and that little band from New Jersey. The one that saw a million faces, and rocked 'em all.
Special thanks to Rob Grabowski for use of his photos.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Billboard’s Boxscore was reported on 11/15/07 and found Bon Jovi at the Number-one position. Here are the totals:
Bon Jovi Prudential Center-Newark, N.J.
Oct. 25-26, 28, 30, Nov. 1, 3-4, 7, 9-10, 2007
Promoter: AEG Live
Attended / Capacity
138,322 / 140,000
Number of Shows/ Number of Sellouts
10 / 0
$303 to $49.50
Bon Jovi grossed a whopping $16,379,070.00 over ten nights at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Now, on any one's watch, this would be a wild success, however, I think it was a PR nightmare for the band and no matter how much they disguised it, they can't hide the fact that they shot themselves in the foot with these shows. Why was this a PR nightmare? Not one of the shows sold out, even though Jon Bon Jovi says so, with cockiness, on their new DVD. The failure to sell these shows out has NOTHING to do where the shows took place, nothing to do with the band's new album, 'Lost Highway' and it has nothing to do with the band.
It has EVERYTHING to do with ticket prices.
Here's my take on the whole fiasco. The band was testing waters to see how much of a "super star" band they truly are. "Are we under charging our fans for tickets?" is probably what went through their heads. So they decided to "test" the waters and see how insane their most loyal fans really are. They were probably thinking, "if this takes off, we can charge this much everywhere!" Will they sell as well as the Stones, Madonna or McCartney? However, what shocked me is that the handlers at Bon Jovi Management and AEG did not do their homework. Sure, Madonna, the Stones and McCartney all had tickets in the $250 and $350 price margin...but what they didn't seem to comprehend is that very few people actually buy these seats. In the case of all three of these artists, I could go online the day of the show and often find tenth row tickets for these prices and yet no one appeared to be buying them even leading right up to show time.
Many of these pricey seats are "papered" to industry peeps, record company people and reviewers. So where does this leave the casual fan? In the cold. For example, for a fan to attend all ten nights, it would cost them well over $3,000. Now, the band did not perform anything starting or unique over these ten-nights and in truth, I think they came off as a weak stand in the band's career.
Another startling aspect that disturbed me was that during the pre-sale tickets were priced between $67.50 and $337.50. All of a sudden when they went on sale, they were priced between $49.50 and $337.50. Now granted, Bon Jovi worked out a deal where all tickets bought during the pre-sale included a digital copy of 'Lost Highway' with the $9.99 price worked in...but $337 minus $10 equals $327. What happened to the other $24? I inquired and never got a response. In short, die-hard fans who bought tickets during the pre-sale paid $34 more than those during the regular sale. Obviously, tickets were not selling well and they decided to drop the ticket price quietly. Why didn't anyone take notice of this? Why didn't the New Jersey newspapers pick up on this and point this out? I think Bon Jovi took their most loyal and hometown fans for a ride and very few in the media have stepped up and asked important questions that needed to be asked. They were given a pass. Why? Oh wait, that's right, because in this day and age, your access and credentials are only as valid and good as your most recent review. You choose to speak the truth and you're blacklisted from reviewing the band or getting free tickets.
Here is the worst aspect of this all...the band did NOT need to rape and pillage their hometown fans in order to be profitable.
Here is a breakdown of what SHOULD have happened:
Based on all articles I read, the planned capacity for these shows was 16,000 (they could not utilize the 19,000 seat capacity because of their stage set up). Why they only chose to report 140,000 is beyond me. This is nothing new in the concert industry as they often disguise poor selling shows with lowering the capacity. My all time favorite was in 2003 when Springsteen put a stadium show on sale in March for Denver. He was playing the football stadium with a capacity well over 50,000 seats. He only sold 26,000 and they reported it in Billboard with a capacity of 30,000. It was laughable when it was reported, but still, it's a common practice in the industry to disguise shows that did not sell up to expectations.
OK, now onto the math. Now, in my opinion, these shows should have sold out easily and the key to making this stand legendary was to ensure tickets were impossible to come by. In today's day and age, tickets to almost all arena and stadium shows can be had outside the arena for far below face value. However, if Bon Jovi and AEG had been smart, they would have priced these shows affordably at price ranges of $85, $55 and $35. If they had stuck to these prices, they would have created excitement, fervor and unparalleled NEED for more shows.
One thing that every artist who is raising their ticket prices is oblivious to is that you should feel honored that people go to scalpers to want to see you. Is it right? Hell no, but two wrongs don't make a right and when the band begins scalping their tickets (in essence) you've lost the plot. Prince triumphantly sold out TWENTY-ONE shows in London in August and September. How? It’s simple, every ticket was priced at $62.42 (aka 31.21 Pounds).
The key to coolness and longevity is to create demand! The day that people stop scalping your tickets is the day you need to worry. I saw online brokers charging $4,000 to seats at these Bon Jovi shows, but please, I highly doubt any of them sold any tickets especially when Bon Jovi was charging $1,000 via Ticketmaster for a "Lost Highway Experience" and these tickets never appeared to have sold out. If I was an artist, I would want as many people to see my show as possible. With the average ticket price for these shows well over $100, they alienated those blue collar workers WHO DEFINE THEIR CORE AUDIENCE.
For example, let's say the band has 16,000 seats to sell;
Take 8,000 of those seats and charge $85 per ticket. You have a gross of $680,000.
Then let's say 4,000 are priced at $55. That gives you a gross of $220,000.
Lastly, let's say the remaining seats (4,000) are all nosebleeds or behind the stage, price these at $35 each. You have a gross of $140,000.
Add those three totals up and you have $1,040,000.
Granted that is $600,000 less than the per show gross they made, but if they had charged these prices, they would have been NO bad press and EVERYONE would have wanted to go. It's like the unattainable girl in high school that every boy wants. Who does she go for? The good guy who she knows is in love with her? No way, she goes for the guy who doesn't express his emotions...she wants a challenge...SHE WANTS WHAT SHE CAN NOT HAVE! It's the same thing with the industry and I have to admit to wanting to see a smaller show that unexpectedly sells out more than one where tickets are plentifully available.
Another possible money option I have for Bon Jovi would have involved getting rid of the screens and stupid backdrops on stage to utilize the entire 19,000 seat capacity. I ranted and raved about this a few months back at antiMusic (link is here). Every time an artist does not sell these seats behind the stage that means fewer people who will be exposed to the new music, fewer who will buy merchandise and fewer who will seek out your new album! The more people you play to, the more your records will sell!
Let's do the same math for the $85 ticket...for a gross of $680,000.
Let's double the number of $55 tickets to 8,000 and this gives a gross of $440,000.
Take the remaining 3,000 seats and price them at $35, you have a gross of $105,000.
These three price tiers total up to $1,225,000. Multiply this by ten and you come up with $12,250,000. Subtract the total gross from this theoretical figure and the difference is $4,129,070.
In short, Bon Jovi sold out their fan base and threw them under a bus for $4 million dollars, or $400,000 per night. Yes, that is a lot of money, but the band doesn't need it! Jon Bon Jovi has been quoted saying "I made my first million by the time I was 25 and my first 100-million by the time I was 35". If you had a business and you were incredibly profitable and had loyal customers, would you triple your prices for the short term easy money? This is exactly what Bon Jovi did and I can't tell you how many fans they alienated in the process. Even worse, let’s say that Bon Jovi made those extra 5,000 seats available with a good view of the stage, chances are they would have spent an average amount of $10 per person on merchandise. That is $50,000 extra per nights and $500,000 extra over the course of ten nights. The more and more you look at cheaper ticket prices, the more it appears that the band will probably make almost as much money in the long run through album sales and merchandise, while maintaining their credibility. All of a sudden, that $4 million gap becomes $3.5 million. Also, it’s no secret that the less a ticket costs, the more inclined one is to buying merchandise.
If you really want to be frustrated, in order to make up the $3.5 million all the band had to do was perform three more shows and they would have made more than the ten nights at obscene ticket prices. To really put it in perspective, all it would have involved was 7.5 hours of extra work for the band. That is less than what the average American workers works in one day! This is a band who didn't feel like doing three extra shows, instead it's all about doing as few shows as possible and making the maximum amount of money. Could you imagine telling your boss you want a 200% increase in salary with the caveat that you are going to work fewer hours? How do you think that would go over?
Here is what kills me, Bon Jovi fought the hard fights and have found themselves able to fill arenas nationwide. Why not take the Tom Petty and Pearl Jam route and undercut your contemporaries? Make it easy for fans to choose your concert before all others. One of the most amazing things I witnessed was in 2005 when Tom Petty sold-out 30,000 seats here in Chicago. Ironically he had played the Chicago area upwards of a dozen times in the three-years before this show (including a week long stand at a club). How did he not saturate the market? His tickets were cheap and affordable ($25-$65). The other thing that astonished me was that fifty-percent of the audience was under the age of 30. I don’t think I’ve seen more than ten-people under the age of thirty at any Springsteen show in the last few years and I'd say less than 10% of the audience at Bon Jovi is under 30. The youth is the future of the music and concert industry and they’re not in the habit of paying $100 for tickets, let alone nosebleeds. Bon Jovi has more money than God and they’ve survived for a quarter of a century, why not charge less and ensure that the next generation can witness their magic? We all deserve a discount, this is a guy who pays $71 in taxes for a 6 acre piece of prime real estate property for his bee farm. That is less than the service fee his fan club charges for two fan club tickets. They have more money than they could ever dream of spending, why gouge fans for more?
Should you price tickets affordably (all under $100) ensuring a sell-out, good word of mouth, a new generation of fans and maximum exposure to your show, OR should you drive up the price, paper the unsold expensive tickets to industry peeps and piss off your most loyal fans leaving such a bad taste in your mouth that it will stay there forever?
"We are very aware of ticket prices when we set up a tour," Bon Jovi says. "We don't do a cheap ticket, but we do a very fair ticket price. Forget about the cost of a concert ticket, I'm very aware of the cost of living. I can't dispute what the Stones or Madonna wanna charge, but I know that to take a date to a concert, park the car, get a T-shirt, buy a couple of beers -- that's more than a week's pay for a lot of folks. We charge less and know that 50,000 seats will be sold for Soldier Field. That's just good business."
Email comments to: thescreendoor AT GMAIL DOT COM
Top B&W Photo courtesy of PIERRE OBENDRAUF
Copies of Draw the Curtains are available at all shows. Antimusic.com calls Draw the Curtains, "Album of the Year." American Songwriter gives it 4 Stars and dubs it, "...a powerful combo of reality and soul." Preview the album at www.jambase.com
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Bon Jovi's latest tour off to a slow start.
With just 150,000 of the 190,000+ available tickets sold in Newark people are asking what happened.
Not 1 of the 10 shows Bon Jovi played in Newark sold out. As a matter of fact for shows 4,5,6,7,8 some 4000 tickets had to be given away, and an additional 5,000 seats in the top tear where covered (deemed as unavailable).
So is it Newark? Bad album sales? No hit single this album?
Most critics think it was the combination of the 3, and also the fact that they decided to sell all 10 shows at one time, instead of announcing new shows as others sold out.
This isn't the 1st time Jovi has had a tough time selling ticket. During his 2005 World Tour numerous shows in Europe were canceled due to slow ticket sales, and 85% of their shows were not sold out.
So whats happening?
Bon Jovi is becoming a greatest hits band. He is not getting the air play he once did and that is certainly affecting album and ticket sales.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I've gotten a few dozen emails since this lawsuit was filed asking me for my opinion. First off, anyone who pays $3,000 for a ticket to anything is smoking crack and should be ridiculed for the rest of their life. Only the dumbest people on Earth would do this.
Now, the lawsuit that was filed this weeek, according to Billboard, is against their fan club. Now, I want to make something clear, fan clubs should exist and I actually criticize artists who don't have them (ahem...Bruce Springsteen). But here is the truth; if you can't offer enough tickets to your fan club members, then don't even exist in the first place. It's one thing to not be able to get them tickets to the LA, Chicago or New York show, but there should be offers for secondary markets to give people a chance to see these people.
If you know that there is no way to fill the ticket demand, then don't offer it as a perk. In fact, when I surveyed 100+ people a few months back what they wanted from a fan club when they join it...100% of them mentioned ticket perks. If you know you can't fufill them, they don't mention them and don't bother with a fan club in the first place. If you do, then you're a gouger of the worst kind.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Amy is really an extraordinary story, not for the drama behind her life, but because she can sell 13,000 seats based on one album. We’re living in a day and age where those with talent can’t find a way to be heard and those without talent have the tools but fail at engaging the masses because everyone has come to realize it’s all very calculated. Amy was a shining light earlier this year and for some, they helped redefine their faith in music. However, at this point she’s one step away from being Pete Doherty, another lost soul who threw his talent away. What happened to creating music and elevating hearts and minds? What happened to being thankful to your fans who allow you to have a career in the first place?
As I previously wrote about, Amy Winehouse is an immense talent, but her antics are hindering her long term development as an artist. She is one of the few artists to emerge in the digital age whom I thought could have a long term career, but she’s shaping up to be a one-album wonder.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Regarding Bon Jovi in Newark:
Just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your articles (esp. the Bon Jovi ones). Anyway as a long time fan, having seen them 26 times since 2000 I couldn’t agree with you more. While I understand the need to play It's My Life, Bad Name (which is always 2nd), and Wanted every night I am getting tired of the same ol' stick which I feel rest solely on Jon. I mean how many times do I want to take ride on his "time machine" for Runaway. I was at nights 8,9,10 for their stand in Newark and left 2 of those nights with nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth. Jon promised rare songs, which I guess were Treat Her Right & Twist & Shout... ewe rare! Anyways keep up the good work…
In And Out Of Love
Let It Rock
Never Say Goodbye
I’d Die For You
99 In The Shade
Wild Is The Wind
Stick To Your Guns
If I Was Your Mother
Something For The Pain
This Ain’t A Love Song
My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms
Next 100 Years
One Wild Night
Two Story Town
Love Me Back To Life
I Wanna Be Loved
I love it when I go to the site and it has MP3's of acts I've never heard of, but I find myself enjoying immensely. He introduced me to the wonderful cherry sounds of The Swimmers, made me check out The A-Sides and like me, he has an immense love for The Ramones (Damn, I need to blog on them asap).
If you love music and are open to discovering new sounds, old sounds and just damn good music, go to Bag of Songs now!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
October 16, 2007
Photo courtesy of Rob Grabowski
I'm coming straight for your heart
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “impossible” as “unable to be done, performed, effected, etc.:an impossible assignment.“. Up until recently, this was the textbook definition of any Van Halen reunion in the 21st Century. In the late 70’s Van Halen rambled onto the rock landscape like roaming warriors who could win any battle with their unbreakable brotherhood. A few decades and singers down the line, the legacy of Van Halen appeared to be a distant memory until this past winter when rumors began to circulate of a reunion with David Lee Roth. Could the impossible really be happening? Despite some false starts, it did indeed happen and the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth made their first Chicago area performance in twenty-three years at the Allstate Arena.
First things first, the sound in the arena was an atrocity and whoever is handling the band’s sound should be fired. I haven’t heard a show sound this ghastly in over fifteen-years. Even worse, it reflected on the band. As I spoke to people as I left many appeared to be dissatisfied with the sound and couldn’t believe that top ticket prices of $170 (even more for the fan club members) means the band couldn’t afford a first rate sound system. The sound was the equivalent to listening to a fifth generation bootleg from 1978 in a crappy car stereo with the volume at eleven. Now that is out of the way, I’m surprised (pleasantly) to say that Van Halen is revitalized. Even though it’s been over twenty-years since the core group has performed and the fact we are barely three weeks into the tour, the band appeared as if they have been playing together everyday for the last two decades. They were tight, succinct and in short…on fire.
A small drape covered the front portion of the stage and as Eddie cranked out the opening riff to “You Really Got Me”, a curtain descended to find Edward, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen ripping through the number as if it was 1974 all over again with David Lee Roth waving a gigantic red flag on the back platform like a King ready to re-claim his throne. “I’m The One” and “Romeo Delight” followed quickly and it was like being put in a time capsule. Eddie, who remained shirtless the entire show, hasn’t appeared this together in years. The last time I saw him perform this well was 1993. On the 2004 tour with Hagar he appeared to be embodying Keith Richards with carefree playing but tonight and from all reports on this tour, he’s performing these songs with pinpoint precision making you feel like its 1984 all over again.
The evening’s first seducing moment was when Wolfgang took the winding platform hovering the back of the stage to finger that vivacious opening bass riff to “Runnin’ With The Devil” as his father looked up at him and gleamed a smile (which I haven’t seen since 1993) that was nothing short of jubilant joy. Wolfie was spot on the entire night and never missed a beat. During “So This Is Love?”, Roth even commented “someone’s been practicing” as Wolfgang’s fingers effortlessly drifted across the four strings taking you back to when you heard ‘Fair Warning’ for the first time. I’m not going to lie; I wish Michael Anthony was on stage for this reunion as he has the history with the band and deserves to take his rightful place in this reunion. Now that I’ve said my peace, it’s important to note that Wolfgang isn’t just a replacement playing all of the right notes, but a brilliant foil to not just his father and uncle, but to Roth as well. The interaction between Roth and all three Van Halen’s was priceless and during some extended solo’s you cold see Roth and Wolfgang chatting with one another and it was all smiles. As much as I would like to see Michael Anthony on stage, one can’t deny the determination by the other three, which is probably fed by Wolfgang’s youthful outlook. In my mind, this reunion probably never would have happened without Wolfgang. His father has fought some serious demons in recent years and no one could fix him except his son. I only hope Wolfgang continues to bring out the best in his father.
David Lee Roth has mystified the masses for close to two decades but tonight he appeared a few decades younger and looked it as well. His outfit for the evening was a killer jacket, stylish leather pants and an occasional top hot (even though there were jacket and hat changes it’s important to note they were the same design, only different colors). Roth’s ripped body looked better than most men in their early twenties. He looked, felt and sounded the part of head ringleader and boy did he relish it. His introduction to “Ice Cream Man” may have been a bit long but this isn’t the Diamond Dave you love to hate, this is the Diamond Dave you love to love. He has taken the reunion seriously and exceeded my expectations every way imaginable.
The set list was staggering and a long time fan’s wet dream come true with a mix of classic rock staples (“(Oh) Pretty Woman”, “Everybody Wants Some”, “Hot For Teacher”) and deep album cuts (“Atomic Punk”, “Little Dreamer”, “Little Guitars”). One bit of irony is that you could clearly tell who in the audience has been dreaming of this reunion, as they were the most physical. Surprisingly, on the album cuts, a large portion of the crowd looked lost. Maybe it was the sound, but I overheard one fan behind me who was complaining to her boyfriend that she felt the Sammy Hagar material is more recognizable and she may be right. Regardless, what is important is that this current incarnation of Van Halen has sculpted a magnificent set list that reestablishes them as rock God’s.
I never thought I would ever hear “Beautiful Girls”, “Dance The Night Away” or “And The Cradle Will Rock” ever again, let alone with Roth and Eddie on the same stage. I was especially amazed by the playfulness both of them exhibited with each other, even sharing the microphone on certain songs. There appeared to be indisputable camaraderie between the two, something I once deemed impossible but tonight it was a reality. This is what was absent from the Police reunion from earlier this year. There was no sense of chemistry or understanding between those three members, but the collective whole of Van Halen appears to be authentically excited about this rebirth. Each song was performed with an unexpected searing intensity. No one can criticize the band for calling this one in. “Mean Street” is living proof of the resurrection of this band. The song was dazzling and spot on. Once again, credit must be given to Wolfgang who not only picked the set list but based on reports I have heard has told his father when he’s not playing it correctly. As a result you may be witnessing the most precise version of Van Halen to ever exist.
The most adorned songs of the evening were the scalding “Unchained” (which I feel the band should play twice a night…once to open the show and another time to close it) was a goose-bump moment as was “I’ll Wait” which is widely disregarded by many fans. Here’s a song that was only performed on one tour but on this tour, the big pop-wise number was not just a crowd pleaser but puts the song in an entirely different light as a pop gem in the Van Halen catalog.
Eddie Van Halen stands as the only musician who can do a solo in concert and not have the crowd exile to the concessions. Eddie’s solo was a simple “Greatest Hits” affair featuring “Cathedral”, “316” and the ever marvelous “Eruption”. I enjoyed the Keith Richards-esque Eddie from 2004 where it was more about feeling than precision, but it was delightful to see him astonish an audience whose collective mouths were gaping on the floor. I forgot how subtle yet amazing “Cathedral” could be where he makes his guitar sound like a synthesizer. The guitar is not an easy instrument to learn let alone master. Do you have any idea how bored and accomplished one has to be in order to figure out the things Eddie has? He stands alone as probably the best rock guitarist on the planet despite what Rolling Stone magazine says.
As the show drew to a close “Panama”, “Ain’t Talking About Love” and the climactic confetti exploding “Jump” delivered a nostalgic knock out to the 13,000 in attendance. I must admit to being doubtful this reunion could ever work, but it did. The titanic expectations were met and one can only hope they keep the momentum going and aim for timelessness on a studio album and further tours in the not too distant future. Van Halen has spent the better part of a decade out of the limelight and now that they have reestablished themselves, it’s time to rock the cradle worldwide once again.
Ones like you ain't never seen
This is home
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and can be found at The Screen Door
You Really Got Me
I'm the One
Runnin' With the Devil
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
Dance the Night Away
Everybody Wants Some
So This Is Love?
And the Cradle Will Rock
Hot for Teacher
Ice Cream Man
Guitar Solo (incl. "Women in Love" intro, "Cathedral", "Eruption")
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Monday, November 12, 2007
Fans seem to wet themselves when Bon Jovi plays one or two unique songs at Giants Stadium. My question to the allegiant fans and to the band; Why not play twenty-seven songs every night? This is not far reaching and the tickets are far more expensive than they were on previous tours. It’s amazing what a little effort can result in. When I witnessed the Soldier Field show in July of 2006, I was enthralled and I did not see one single song that I had never seen live before. Why was I enraptured with the performance? Because the band poured every ounce of their souls into the gig and I’ll never forget that. They didn’t call it in or take the easy way out. They went above and beyond what I expected. This appears to be the case on the ninth Prudential show…they didn’t go home until both band and fan was satisfied.
However, the sad point at hand is that there were nine other shows that in this writer’s humble opinion were disappointing and did not deliver. These shows had a $350 price mark for the top tiered tickets and for nine of the ten shows, the band performed twenty-three or fewer songs. I’m sorry, but you charge more for a ticket means you have to push yourself and give more. The more the band relies on their legacy, the more disposable their shows will become. I want to see them come out on top, but they haven’t shown me any signs they are truly invigorated to engage their aggressive side nightly. I want to see this band channel the entire fifty-years of rock n’ roll over the course of three hours and what frustrates me is that I know they can do this, but choose not to. Anyone who wants to argue with me, look no further than the songs below. What you will find is a complete listing of every song performed over the course of the ten nights in Newark. What you will see is a band that limped through ten-nights resting on their laurels. To those of you who have tickets to upcoming shows, if the shows are anything like these, I would suggest selling your tickets while you can.
49 Different and Unique Songs Totaling 235 songs played over 10 nights, approximately $14.89 a song for the $350 tickets:
Any Other Day (3)
Bad Medicine (10)
Bed of Roses (acoustic) (3)
Bells of Freedom (1)
Blaze of Glory (acoustic) (1)
Blood on Blood (3)
Born To Be My Baby (9)
Captain Crash (5)
Everybody's Broken (2)
Have A Nice Day (10)
I Love This Town (5)
I'll Be There For You (1)
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (5)
In These Arms (1)
It's My Life (10)
Just Older (3)
Keep the Faith (6)
Last Man Standing (5)
Last Night (2)
Lay Your Hands on Me ( 8 )
Living In Sin (1)
Livin' On A Prayer (10)
Lost Highway (10)
Make a Memory (10)
One Step Closer (1)
Radio Saved My Life (4)
Raise Your Hands (9)
Right Side of Wrong (2)
Runaway ( 8 )
Seat Next To You (2)
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night (4)
Story of My Life (3)
Stranger In This Town (Richie) (1)
These Days (Richie) ( 8 )
Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore (1)
Treat Her Right (1)
Twist & Shout (1)
We Got It Goin' On (10)
Who Says You Can't Go Home (10)
Whole Lot of Leavin' Going On (10)
Wild In The Streets (1)
You Give Love A Bad Name (10)
Now that you have looked over the list, it should be important to note that a whopping TWO songs have not been played live on the last two tours (2003-2006). One song is “Stranger In This Town” and it got a number of airings on the Crush tour and the other is “Hallelujah”, a cover of the Leonard Cohen song that has been seen online and on their Unplugged performance. So if you want to get really specific, there was not one world live premiere during this entire stand. Pearl Jam played more unique songs over the course of two-nights in May of 2006 in Chicago (they performed fifty-one unique songs and a total of fifty-nine total songs over the two nights). When Springsteen performed ten nights at Madison Square Garden in June of 2000, he played seventy unique songs. Why does Bon Jovi continue to feel the need to not just short change their fans, but more importantly, themselves? They are hurting themselves as musicians by not expanding their horizons and boundaries. Even worse, this is essentially the same concert the band has performed since 2000 with the new songs being changed up at every show.
For a band who wants to play ball with the big boys (Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, etc.), it’s time for them to raise the bar artistically and get on the same playing field as those aforementioned artists. They have a mini Canadian tour coming up in a few days before they head overseas in January. I doubt you will see any major changes before then…we can only pray that the band gets inspired when they get to Japan. This is a band who should be spoken about in mythic status, but aren’t because of their continual reluctance to go above and beyond.
In the coming weeks, I’ll put together a list of songs Bon Jovi should perform with some consistency. Want to add your two cents? Email me: thescreendoor AT GMAIL DOT COM.