Monday, July 4, 2011

2011...Halfway There

Greetings fellow music fans! Happy Fourth of July to my American friends -- and happy Monday (ayyy...sorry) to my other buddies.

So ... I have returned from my crazy Jovi UK/Eurotour adventure. And what an adventure it was! I certainly will be sharing stories and pictures from the road over the next week or so. An unforgettable 10 days for sure.

But, given that we are halfway through 2011, it's time for my mid-year pick for performance of the first six months. There have been some truly great evenings since we rang in the new year -- from the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall (awesome!) to Elvis Costello at the Beacon Theatre. There have been Jukes shows and Jovi shows, small chamber music concerts and big festival rock-n-roll shows.

In the end, though, there were TWO shows that stand out. The first made it in just under the wire on June 30th. Yes, I'm talking about Bon Jovi in Dublin night 2.

As many of you know, that was my 200th show (I'm trying not to think about the $$$. LOL) and more than anything I really wanted to hear Bounce. Jon Bon Jovi will never know the personal significance that song has for me (some of you do) but it marks more than just a concert milestone for me and will always hold a special place in my heart. Anyhoo, I do believe Mr. Rockstar may have been trying to screw with me a bit during the fan club event as when he said they were trying to decide between Happy Now and Bounce he just smirked at me. Stinker!

Well, given that we all know he lies (heck, even he admits it, right?) ... I was pleasantly surprised that they opened the show with "my" song. Wanting to just enjoy the moment, I didn't record or take pictures during it. Luckily, many other people did ... here's a great clip by Jovigirlfm (who always takes great video!)

But, it wasn't only hearing one of my all-time favorite songs that made this such an extraordinary concert. It was the incredible combination of the set list (Damned/If Loving You is Wrong, Love for Sale, Hey God, Never Say Goodbye all in the same show!!!), the venue, the crowd and the band at the top of its game. I can see now why JBJ loves Dublin so much. It's pretty easy to fall in love with the city, the people and the energy there. Between the perfect weather, a crowd hungry for as much as Bon Jovi was willing to put out (and that was a lot), the concert morphed into one of those epic nights that just kept getting more and more unbelievable.

Oh, and by the way, we got Happy Now as well *wink*

This show was the perfect way to close out my five remarkable concerts in the UK/Europe ... a ton of friends, a great band, a fabulous crowd ... and a song from Jon. Doesn't get much better than that!

BUT WAIT! I said earlier, there were TWO shows that defined the first half of the year. It would be criminal not to talk about the show that had a juggernaut hold on the "best of the year" performance up until the very last day of June.

Where Bon Jovi can take an entire crowd of 60,000 on a ride, the performance by the Early Elton Trio of "Madman Across the Water" in January was that kind of rare musical experience where the listener is transported to a place where it is just them and the artist. I equate it to a film sequence where the main characters are in crystal clear focus and the entire world around them is a blur. That's what this performance was like. It is one of those feelings that can't really translate to video ... but here is what I suggest: maximize your screen, turn down the lights, use earphones so you can hear everything -- and when you get to the solo in the middle, just close your eyes and listen. Jeff Kazee knocked it out of the park. Period.

So, there you go...the two stand-out concerts of the first half of 2011. Trust me, it wasn't easy -- Bon Jovi in Hyde Park was really outstanding. I'll write more about that later. And that crazy, rainy night in Bristol wasn't too shabby either. LOL

Until the next time...
Big Apple Jen