Concert Review: Bon Jovi and Daughtry - MGM Grand Garden Arena 4/12/08
So it only took me 22 years to get around to seeing Bon Jovi live in concert. It was worth the wait, if not the $76 I spent on the ticket (way past what I would normally consider spending for a concert). I made an exception since this was one of those bands that I felt I should see once before I die (or more accurately, before THEY die). I was actually looking forward to seeing Daughtry - what I thought was a solid opening act. They were very disappointing. But the Jovis made up for that misstep. Read below for more:
First off, I missed the first song...not Mr. Daughtry's fault. MGM has the entry to the arena set up extremely poorly, so it takes like 10 minutes for the herd of cattle...er...music fans to get inside. And of course, this was the only concert in freaking history that started exactly at the posted time. When I entered, they were starting "Breakdown" - not even one of my favorite tracks from their CD, but it sounded great.
Grade through most of first two songs: A-
Things started to go south towards the end of the next song, "What About Now" - my favorite song of theirs. It started off amazing, with a build from piano to a hard chorus. Then Mr. Daughtry inexplicably inserted a piece of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" in the middle of the song. Note to everyone involved in the music industry in any way: DON'T DO THIS! If you're doing a cover song, do it. If you're not, then don't
Annoying habit of inserting pieces of cover tunes into other songs: F (done twice by both Daughtry AND Bon Jovi...ugh!)
Annoying habit of recording versions of songs containing high notes that you can't hit in real life: F
Mr. Daughtry relied heavily on his backing vocalists for the high parts...which I guess is OK if you can HEAR the backing vocals. But it's just annoying when you realize that singers can't really sing like they do on CD. More annoying was that Chris' voice was otherwise really strong, and the band sounded great, but this detracted from the overall performance.
The last two songs were ones I had never heard of...or at least I couldn't recognize them through the ear-shattering screaming vocals. This was one of the worst endings to a concert set I've ever seen and completely ruined the entire thing for me. I'm really hoping we hear better from these guys in the future.
Overall grade: C
They played for 2h 13m...longer than I've seen an act do in quite some time. When you're charging what they are, that is a very good thing. It's amazing to see the wealth of great songs these guys have amassed. When you can play "Born to Be My Baby" the second song in and then go right into "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Raise Your Hands," you know your set list is stacked. I guess there was a brief segment of the show where things got a little less than exciting, but for the most part, it rocked all the way through. JBJ exclaimed at about the 1 hour mark, "Let's kick this thing into high gear now!" Usually when a rock singer makes a declaration like this, it's followed by about 3 more songs. Not this time. They pretty much played everything you'd expect them to. No glaring omissions. They subsituted a couple deeper tracks like "Just Older" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" for hits such as "Always" and "Runaway" - but this didn't really detract from the performance. Surprisingly, a couple songs that were not my favorites, like "It's My Life" and "Blaze of Glory" sounded really good live. Daughtry coming out to help on the latter actually added a lot to it...better than he did on any of his own songs! The one sore spot for me was an awful arrangement of one of my favorite songs of all time by anyone, "Bed of Roses." I'd seen them do it this way on TV, so it wasn't a complete shock, but still a little disappointing. But then they end with "Keep the Faith," "Livin' on a Prayer," "In These Arms" (a nice surprise in the encore) and "Wanted Dead or Alive." Some finish! See how it's done, Mr. Daughtry! WDOA is actually not the best choice of song to wrap up a concert because it's a little slower, but it was the obvious selection.
I first discovered Bon Jovi, as did most people, in 1986 with the release of "Slippery When Wet." 22 years later, my first BJ concert experience (that didn't come out right) gets an A-. And their latest CD, "Lost Highway" was a surprisingly great purchase for me last year after several years of not caring too much for their stuff. "You Want to Make a Memory" was one of the best songs from 2007.
Oh and by the way, MGM Grand Garden Arena is a great venue other than the aforementioned entryway snafu. The sound was great...something you don't always find at concerts.
Peace out and keep rocking them all! (OK that was cheesy)