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Okay, so the rain cleared up for most of the concert (thank you weather gods), Jon Bon Jovi is, as a given, hot, hot, hot to the nth degree and the boys were obviously working their hearts out and putting on a damn good show. They even did Shout by Johnny O’Keefe and a tres sexy version of Twist and Shout (mainly due to the aforementioned hotness of Jon twisting his little butt). However I have two quibbles with the whole thing…

1. It wasn’t LOUD!!! WTF???

I don’t know about you but when I got to see a unashamed, good old ROCK band, I want LOUD music. I want bass that vibrates through your chest and drums that, to quote Bono, feel like they’re giving you a good kicking and general wild and crazy noise. Maybe it’s a hangover from the fact I grew up playing in 40+ person concert bands and love, love, love that feeling of being absolutely inside the music but I want to feel surrounded by music at a concert. I want it to kind of take me over. Which, for anything rockish, also means VOLUME. This was not volume (well, maybe for the 10% of the crowd in the front reserved seats but not for the other 18,000 or so in the general admission on the hill), this was “gosh, I’ve regularly heard louder music in my living room with my stereo blasting” and honestly, my stereo is teeny. Gah. Truly, I’m not exaggerating to say that the Bon Jovi in my car on the way home seemed louder.

All I can think was that they were put under a decibel limit because of the tennis (Screw the tennis, they can shut the freaking roof, after all, it was freaking raining, give me my loud rock and roll). And if that was the reason then WHY THE HELL was the concert held at the music bowl when there was a perfectly good empty stadium across town far away from the delicate ears of the tennis prima donnas??? Don’t try and tell me Bon Jovi can’t sell out a reasonably sized stadium when they haven’t toured here for five years. I am baffled by the minds of the concert promoters at this point. Why put a band like Bon Jovi in a venue where they are effectively muzzled? I mean, even at Carols by Candlelight there are extra speakers around the venue but tonight, nope. Not one. I know extra speakers screw with the mix but more on that later.

The other problem with lack of loud is that you lose the crowd energy as well. Which then zaps the general live music experience. Sure there were some songs that went off but given Jon is a showman, the band are great and they didn’t play one song I didn’t know (and I don’t call myself a diehard Bon Jovi fan ie don’t own all their albums) the crowd should’ve been in much more of a frenzy than they were (which is the other part of concert going I love, the crowd vibe) for much more of the time. Having been to many concerts where the crowd has been worked to a fever pitch and kept there, I can tell you, this wasn’t that. It hit it now and then but didn’t stay there.

Which brings me to the next quibble.

2. The mix was TERRIBLE in the general admission area. So terrible that the only correct technical term for it is (and look away now, I’m about to use language I don’t normally use on my blog) MUDDY AS FRAK (there, I substituted the BSG synonym to save all our sensibilities). I mean, I’ve never been to an outdoor concert with a fabulous mix, it’s too hard to achieve. But I have been to concerts with decent mixes. This was not one. When you employ the time honoured method of sticking your fingers in your ears to cut out the echoes and feedback and interference and the vocal still doesn’t come clear then there’s something wrong. I mean, at times, combined with the volume problem, until the crowd starting singing, you couldn’t tell what the damned song was.

Thankfully the mix did seem to come good for the last three or four songs of the encore ( I don’t know, maybe the wind shifted or something – not that it was terribly windy). And, thankfully, said encore included a beautiful version of Hallelujah, which is one of my all-time favourite songs by anyone and made up for them not doing Bed of Roses which is my favourite Bon Jovi song and generally saved me from feeling that $130 was a frakkin lot to pay for middling volume blurry Bon Jovi in the rain. Of course, if only Hallelujah had been a bit LOUDER it would’ve gone from beautiful to spine tingling as you could see from the screens that Jon was singing his heart out and mostly hear it but it lacked the full impact those down the front would’ve gotten. And once again, when 90% or so of your audience is in general admission up the back you need a mix that works for everyone.

Here endeth the rant. I would definitely go see them again. Just not at the Myer Music Bowl. In fact, getting me to see anything vaguely rocky at the Music Bowl is highly unlikely unless it’s U2 and they’re not playing anywhere else or unless someone gets me reserved seating (and pays the ridiculous reserved seating ticket price for me). Bah humbug.

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