Monday, March 18, 2013

An Evening with Bon Jovi: Because We Can Tour Concert Review

We definitely lived up to the blog name on this one.  We had cheap seats.

We saw Bon Jovi on their (yes, their, not his, this is a band, not a solo act......more on that later) Because We Can tour.  Aptly named.  Sold millions of records.  Sold out arenas and stadiums worldwide for years.  Have more money than they can spend.  Why do it?  Because they can.

The four core members of the band are most decidedly a band.  The bass player has been with them for years, but never appears on album covers and such as a member of the band.  The second guitarist was just that, a second guitarist, although they did allow him a couple of solos and proper acknowledgement.  But the four guys who have been in the band since the inception are the band.

Tico Torres played flawless thundering drums.  The kick drum could be felt in the gut, as it should  be.

David Bryan is the pop metal generation's Jon Lord.  He plays keyboards as a lead instrument and not as a layeing instrument.

Richie Sambora's playing was at times inspired and when needed was flawlessly true to the original recording.

Jon Bon Jovi stills knows how to make the girls scream, although now the screaming girls are middle-aged housewives.  His pipes are still excellent and he delivered in every way fathomable.

What was interesting to us, as Bon Jovi fans since their debut album, was the crowd.  There were many families there, obvious attempts by the parents to expose the offspring to music that they loved.  There were many, many people there of our age (middle class and middle age).  There were some younger college and high school-aged kids in attendance.

Fortunately, the majority of the crowd was like us - grew up on the Bon Jovi hits of the late '80's/early '90's. When those classic songs were played, the fans like us were up, singing and dancing and reliving our youth.  The younger generation just seemed bored.  Sad.

Bon Jovi opened the show with the '80's classic "You Give Love a Bad Name".  Not a bad start.

They have a new album out, so, of course they played four songs from that album.  Not bad songs, but since the album just came out this week, nobody knew them.

But for people our age, every song you wanted to hear, they delivered.

Highlights?  While there were many, out favorite was what they closed the regular set with.  "Bad Medicine" with "Old Time Rock N Roll" thrown in towards the end.  The entire song, not just a passing tidbit.  That had  the crowd on its feet and singing along.

Another highlight was the performance of  "I'll Be There For You".  If there was any doubt that this a band (or at the very least a two-man show) this was it.  This was the first time they performed this song this tour. Richie Sambora sang lead on the song.  Jon Bon Jovi was not on stage.

The only critcism we have with the show is they did not do anything from 7800 Farhenheit.  Granted, not many people know the songs from that album and, admittedly, it was not one of their stronger offerings.  This is just us, but we first saw Bon Jovi in support of that album, so it kind of holds a special place in our hearts. Would have loved to have heard "Tokyo Road" or "In and Out of Love".  But that is minor.

However, they did do the song that first turned us on to  Bon Jovi back in the day - "Runaway".  We were pleased.

Speaking of, the first time we saw Bon Jovi was, we think, 1985.  Opening for Ratt.  The first concert we attended.  So this kind of closes the circle for us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Are We Moving Towards One Macro-Genre of Music?

Update: We have recently become aware of a website that we really enjoy reading. As a bonus this article was a little over 2 years ahead of us coming to this conclusion, though through different means.

Here in the Cheap Seats, we are fans of good music.  Or at least our definition of good music.  You know the premise, we can't explain it, but know it when we hear it.

With the exception of rap, we are generally not opposed to any type of music, so long as it appeals to us.

Country? Check.
Pop? Check.
Rock? Check.
And on and on.

Which brings us to this.  Why are we still putting music into a specific genre?  That only limits the audience.  If you take a look at the music you like, surely there is some common vein that runs through all of it.  Even if your tastes are eclectic.

Let us explain.

We are going to post two songs below.  One belongs to a current country music darling, one to a an up-and-coming hard rock/heavy metal act.  With a few tweaks in production and instrumentation without changing the integrity of either song, just changing the artists name would move the song from one genre to the other.

To get the full effect of what we are talking about, we'll give you a step-by-step on how we arrived at our conclusion.  First listen to the Carrie Underwood song "Good Girl".  Preferably with you eyes closed.  Just concentrate on the music. Ignore the video.

Now that you have that song on your brain, which is in fact a rock song, listen to the following Halestorm song "I Miss the Misery", again just listening, the images tend to convolute the mind.

While listening, imagine Carrie Underwood singing.  The guitars pulled back in the mix. Some keyboard layers.  A thinner drum mix.  And we can hear places where a banjo would be apropos.

Now go back and listen to the Carrie Underwood song while thinking about more up front guitars, a heavier drum sound and more bottom end.

We think slight adjustments in the instrumentation and production could make the songs practically interchangeable.  Put "I Miss the Misery" on a Carrie Underwood album and suddenly it's a country song.  Let Halestorm record "Good Girl" and it's a hard rock song.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Uniforms gone bad

Apologies to those who have been missing missives from the cheap seats.  We kind of took February off.  Not much going on in the sports world.

OK.  So they had that little thing known as the Super Bowl, but it happened early in the month.  After that?  Well, not much happening.

The end of February is when pitchers and catchers report.  Full squads are also there before the month ends.  Spring Training is in full force.  March Madness is almost upon us.  Which brings us to:


We love making fun of the various CFB uni bloopers.  But now we feel bad.  Because this is just.......hideous.

OK, to be fair, the Louisville uni is not atrocious.  But the Kansas, Notre Dame and UCLA unis are beyound belief.  And not in a good way.