First off, you have to give them some credit. As an enormously successful rock band with such a huge fan base, they - like it or not - have to play to the masses. The average fan probably doesn't know what Miss Fourth of July or Radio Saved My Life Tonight even sounds like, but they sure as hell can belt out every word to Bad Name and Prayer. And those are the classics that EVERY FAN - die-hard or average - will know. So, naturally, a band wants to hold the attention of its entire audience, and not isolate those who don't buy the box set or demos or B-sides....etc. However, that doesn't mean that every show should be full of the classics. I definitely want them to spice it up with some new stuff, some old stuff, some rare stuff, and a taste of everything in between; otherwise, the die-hard fans are then the ones isolated...and bored!
So, while a good taste of all their material spanning over the years should always be played, Bjorn and I agreed on five songs that we personally could do without hearing - and gave a few thoughts on why:
1. You Give Love A Bad Name
(Me) Seriously, it's old. Not that I don't like it, I'm just really tired of hearing it. The lyrics are almost monotonous at this point, and I don't get any of that 'oomph' when they launch into it anymore.
(Bjorn) There's something about that song that doesn't work live. It doesn't have the beef that the original recording does have - it sounds stripped when it's live. It's been the same version for 23 years...it's time for something new, I guess.
2. Who Says You Can't Go Home
(Me) I can explain this in one sentence: IT'S NOT ALL RIGHT!
(Bjorn) It's like a bastard child - it's not Bon Jovi! All of the Lost Highway album is a bastard child - all of it has to go. I don't even recognize it as a Bon Jovi album; it's never in my CD player.
3. I'll Be There For You (Jon version)
(Me) That sounds so mean, but I don't mean to bash Jon here. It's just that the song gets really overplayed and really overworked and really oversung...and when its played at practically every show you go to, you start to get sick of it, too. However, I thoroughly enjoy it when Richie performs it - mostly because he has a phenomenal voice that NAILS it. Besides, him taking center stage adds that new flavor and new kick to an otherwise very tired tune.
(Bjorn) I think Jon's voice is whining in that song. I like when Richie sings it, because he has the voice to do it.
(Me) Now, I absolutely adore the version from Live From London, but those days are past. Jon can't hit those high notes anymore, which is the whole point of the song, so now it just sounds too melancholy and boring. Without that emotion and passion, the song is stripped.
(Bjorn) You expect this great performance that you see in the DVDs (like in the London one, for example), but it's just not going to happen anymore...so you'll always be disappointed.
5. Bad Medicine
(Me) Okay...as much as I like the "commercial breaks" and the goofing off, I'm really tired of this 10-minute performance. It drags on and on, and just takes up too much of the show. They've played it so many times (with the same standard inserted song) that it just needs to go now.
(Bjorn) It bugs me. I like the Osaka version with Richie in '98, because it has more guitar. I really enjoy playing the song, but I don't like listening to it live...which is weird to say. But it drags on, and it bugs me.