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Bon Jovi Melbourne Concert Review

Rod Laver Arena

December 10  2010

Bon Jovi are AWESOME - OK probably a bit short for a review so the full concert review follows.  How is this linked with horses? well one of Bon Jovi's mega albums & single was Keep The Faith in the mid 90s and that is the name of a stallion that was a stakeswinner as a racehorse in Australia and later in the US before heading back to Australia for a stud career at Swettenham Stud in Victoria.  His oldest are 3yos and only one has been named a Bon Jovi connection so far a 3yo called Sambora trained by Karen Fox in Victoria.

Back in 1995 Bon Jovi toured and myself, a friend and my soon to be ex housemate (if only that had happened earlier!) decided to make a weekend of it and travelled from Canberra to Melbourne to see them perform in the first of the two concerts are the Olympic Park venue in Melbourne.  As we only had general admission tickets we headed off at lunchtime to line up to get in, spent hours in the line, missed out on getting any merchandise but ultimately ended up in a fairly good spot well in front of the mixing desk in the standing only area and thought we were prepared for the long afternoon evening of standing with no access to a drink, food til later.  Well two of us had - Keanu Reeves' band played then we got through Jimmy Barnes and it was only mere moments before Bon Jovi were to appear and what happens?  Housemate 'I need a drink' no it couldn't wait she wanted one there and then.  Did anyone say 'good luck see you at the hotel' as we should - no all three of us found our way out of the crowd to the very back so she could get her drink - afternoon wasted, spot gone and Bon Jovi were on stage singing Rock around the world and we were in another time zone.  We eventually ended up somewhere to the side of the stage where we couldn't see anything - not the tv screens only the odd band member when they ventured to the stage edge.  So we attended in name only could hear everything but it wasn't the full concert experience it should have been.  So I have wanted to see them in concert ever since - they skipped Adelaide last time they toured and it was at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne so thought wait til next time they must come to Adelaide.  Well The Circle tour was announced and again Adelaide missed out but as it turned out I ended up going to Melbourne for a different reason and it happened to be the weekend Bon Jovi toured so found tickets for the Rod Laver Arena show (I was literally in the air flying home as they took to the stage for the second concert at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night). 

Rod Laver Arena floor area is so small compared to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre - the arena may seat more but whoever said online that the floor is the best place to see a concert was right on the mark our seats were on a slightly raised section so it was possible to see the stage despite the tallest people in Melbourne having seats directly in front of us.  Being located next to the mixing desk also turned out to be a fantastic spot the auditorium went dark the play on track/video started and then the band started with Last Man Standing from 'Have a Nice Day'.  But where's Jon Bon Jovi?  turns out he is about 3 metres (yes metres - see the photos below) away on a platform on the other edge of the mixing desk area.  So our part of the crowd had a front row view for the 4 minutes or so it took for that song - fans on the other side had JBJ greet them as he went past to the nearby exit to get back to the main stage for a rousing rendition of You Give Love a Bad Name.  The hits just kept coming from the start such as We Weren't Born to Follow, In These Arms and soon as the rest of the band held down the stage JBJ was walking up huge platform stairs to perform to the crowd along the back of the arena (seats behind the stage that have partially obscured views for most of the night) to make their night before heading back to the stage where the platforms turn out to be big video screens that move independently as part of the video screen display for the rest of the night (have not seen these screens in footage from any of the other concerts on the Aust tour) .

A brilliant mixture of hits followed with It's My Life followed by the new song No Apologies which apparently was picked up instead of the ballad by radio & fans in Australia resulting in it being the next single release in the US from the Greatest Hits album.   Then Keep the Faith followed by a medley of Bad Medicine & Pretty Woman before JBJ took a break and Richie Sambora took over the vocals for Lay Your Hands On Me.  JBJ was back for What do You Got and first JBJ then Richie Sambora and soon the other members of the band, David Bryan and Tico Torres, came out on the circle platform for several songs including I'll Be There For You and an acoustic version of Something for the Pain (These Days) album.  For me that song was a surprise as its not one of their most well known songs but then later the last song of the main set Loves the Only Rule was a bigger surprise - I added this to my mp3 as it was a good fast tempo song to walk to but never thought it would turn up as part of the concert (but then I think someone checked my mp3 player for suggestions as only one Bon Jovi song was missing!).  Have a Nice Day and Who Says You Cant Go Home led into Loves the Only Rule and then we were left in darkness to wait for the encore.

Dry County from Keep the Faith was the first song back then Wanted Dead or Alive before all too soon the first notes of Livin' On A Prayer were struck (and believe me that last 40 minutes flew by I couldn't believe it was past 11pm).  And after that legendary song getting every single person in the crowd to their feet in the one giant singalong they were gone, it was over and we were all left wishing it could have gone on just an hour or two longer!

Bon Jovi always acknowledge that they like to play a different setlist each night which keeps each performance different - haven't heard of JBJ turning up on a platform at the mixing desk at any other Aust concert on this tour either but then this was the only non stadium concert they are playing and probably one of the few Bon Jovi have ever played in Australia making it a special night indeed.  These Days, I Love This Town and Always/Bed of Roses were probably the only big songs missing but it didn't matter the 25 songs we did get turned into an awesome concert and made up for the disappointment for me of 1995.

Now if only there was a DVD released of this tour - its been a while since there was a concert video of a Bon Jovi tour out there and the greatest hits tour would be the perfect one to choose.  The official Bon Jovi website is www.bonjovi.com

Below are a selection of photos from the concert.



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