Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brahms, Beethoven and Bon Jovi

I really did try to pare this down ... sorry, its a bit long and the spacing is wonky ... but anyway ...

Hello fellow Jovifans! Hope you are having a great day. I can't help but be in a good mood after Monday night's AmEx event at Alice Tully Hall. Geez! I don't even know where to begin.

Oh, wait ... yes, I do!

First and foremost - I need to publicly thank my beloved friend, the Fiction Mistress. It was because of her that I was able to attend this event ... and it was because of the lovely people at American Express that our seats were third row dead center. (And I'm not kidding - literally DEAD CENTER.) Luckily, FM is a great photographer because I tend to not take pictures during shows ... so be sure to thank her for the lovely images you see in this post. :-)

In any case, there are already so many articles and mini-reviews of the show floating around that I'm not sure what I can add that will be new to y'all.

So, instead ... I will just ramble a bit (as usual) ... until I have nothing left to say. LOL

I have been VERY blessed to attend many a Jovi event over the years - fan club trips, small concerts, big concerts, press events, Soul events, etc. - but I must say that this one rates way up near the top ... on par with the Actor's Studio taping, but different because it wasn't all the guys.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a special fondness for Alice Tully Hall. Why, you ask? Well, the hall is attached to Juilliard and the school does many of its orchestral and chamber music concerts there. I have played on that stage more times than I can count - some performances memorable - others ... well ... not so much.

In fact, I had recently told Jeff Kazee (keyboard player for the Jukes and frequent "and friends" musician for HRH) about a concert I had done there during the Mozart bicentennial celebration several years ago. It was for bassoon and two basset-horns (which a member of the clarinet family.)

Jeff, being the consummate joker that he is, sent me a message late last week saying "hey, I just heard Jon Bon Jovi was going to use a bassoon and two basset HOUNDS!" ... lordy ... only Jeff!! (just in case - for my international friends ... see the links for each to understand the play on words.)

Anyway ... about Tully. There is actually a "quasi-secret" hallway that leads from Juilliard to backstage at Tully. All alumni of the school have access to the building pretty much at all times ... so I WILL admit ... it took everything in my power not to utilize that hallway Monday night. LOL

Okay ... enough about the venue and on with the show.

I really didn't have any expectations going in regarding the structure of the event. When I read the promotional material and it said that Jon would do a question and answer with Phil Griffin (photographer and director of the WWWB documentary), I really didn't imagine Jon would sit up there the WHOLE time just talking and answering questions, telling stories and such. But, that's exactly what he did. And it was fabulous.

For me, the evening really seemed like a continuation of the film's exploration -- but with live music and even more, perhaps, candid responses. Jon obviously has a comfort level and trust in terms of Phil ... though I do believe he was caught off guard a couple of times...

I will say that hearing Bon Jovi's music in such a formal (at least to me) setting was a bit ... well ... unsettling - only in that it felt strange to be in Tully (home of Chamber Music at Lincoln Center and such) clapping and singing along as we would at a show in another venue. I have seen and played with some of the greatest classical artists of our generation there - Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Andre Watts, etc. so "letting go" was a bit of a challenge for me. LOL

(By the way, why do some girls find it necessary to constantly scream while Jon is on stage. Excitement is one thing, but didn't we come to hear him sing and to hear him talk? I'm just sayin' ... you miss a lot of great off-the-cuff moments when you're screaming like that. Perhaps that's why he keeps referring to fans as "maniacs" or "lunatics" ... Jon, please note ... we aren't all like that.)

So many memories from the evening ... one in particular was when Jon agreed to play Superman Tonight. He started the sentence "I am going to play something off the new record ..." and then quite a few people yelled out this song title. It wasn't what he had PLANNED on playing, but we were so happy agreed to do it ...

Of course, there were many funny anecdotes. Jon does seem to be into "firsts" lately - opening the new Giants, opening the 02, first rock band with a number one country hit, etc. etc. When Phil mentioned last night they had hit another "first" this past week (the first band to have three consecutive number one albums in Japan) Jon jokingly said "hey, but we're big in Japan!" Very funny moment - because as he said every band starting out always says "but we're big in Japan" ... but in the case of Bon Jovi they really ARE big in Japan. LOL

It would be great if at some point, this event was released on video ... would love to hear again about Jon going in to L.A. Reid's office to talk about going to Nashville. Very funny. You can tell by FM's wonderful pictures how open and expressive Jon was during the discussion, drinking coffee, wine, tea ... (he did joke about having to pee a lot ... no wonder, with everything he drinks! LOL)

I was pleased that he decided to open up the discussion to include questions from the audience (though by the end of that, I'm not sure HE was so pleased.) A constantly running theme throughout the Q&A was that he needs to perform more of the band's back catalog. After the third person said that, he finally mumbled "I get it ... no more Bad Name..." Hopefully, he understands its not that we DON'T want to hear the big hit singles (for any person with half a brain understands why they have to do all those songs at every show) but he needs to get over this misconception that people don't want to hear the other tracks.

Unfortunately, that belief was probably strengthened when the audience went crazy over his performance of Hallelujah ...

The thing is though ... he really does sing the %$#& out of that song. THAT'S what we are reacting to ... but it doesn't, in any way, negate how much we love the songs he and Richie write. Somewhere, somehow I truly hope he understands that.

Okay ... I better post this for now or I'll never get to work!

P.S. Those who follow me on Twitter already know this ... but my evening kicked off with a bang when I was headed to the subway from the office and ended up meeting Elton John (yes, Elton FRICKIN' John!) at Cipriani Wall Street. Holy crap!