I’m going to put a pause on the Disney College Program blog posts to talk about something that’s been trending in the music world recently (at least in my opinion). The American rock band Bon Jovi kicked off their 2022 tour in Omaha, Nebraska at the CHI Health Center on Friday, April 1. Unfortunately, they haven’t been off to a good start. Instrumentally, the band sounded good. Drummer Tico Torres didn’t miss a beat and was a beast, keyboardist David Bryan was fabulous on the keyboards, bassist Hugh McDonald was chilling and going with the flow, and lead guitarist Phil X was shredding with a smile on his face. Vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, however, was struggling big time!
Before I go any further, I’d like to apologize to the fans of Bon Jovi if my words are a bit harsh.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know that I am not a fan of Jon Bon Jovi as a person. But I have to admit, I kind of feel bad for the guy! The clips I’ve seen on YouTube are painful to watch, but it looked like Jon was in pain as well. He struggled to hit the notes and stay on key, despite the fact that the band tuned down their songs another half step flat to help Jon out. There’s also the concert reviews and comments that I’ve read online about his current singing voice. And boy, people can be mean!
Not all the comments were bad, though. Some cut Jon some slack since he’s been touring for years and is still recovering from COVID-19. But just because I feel bad for the guy, that doesn’t mean I think it’s ok for Jon to keep touring with the band and sell overpriced tickets for people that want to see them. According to Ticketmaster, the price for floor one seats at an upcoming show in Indianapolis, Indiana is $650.
To make matters worse, Jon’s voice has gone downhill since the early 2000s, but he kept working and never bothered to get help for his problem. He had all this time during the pandemic to work on his vocals, but he did nothing about it! From the 2000s to 2013, his voice was decent enough to still perform. But by 2017-2018, that’s when it became more obvious that Jon needed singing lessons. Strangely enough, the rest of the band is going along with it, and allowing Jon to go out on stage and humiliate himself in public!
Ok, I need to hold back a bit on my thoughts.
In his review for the first show of the tour, Kevin Coffey from Omaha World-Herald said that Jon’s voice was thin, there’s not a lot of tone to it, and that he can’t hit the notes like he used to. He also went on about how it wasn’t the first time that Jon’s poor vocals were called out. According to Coffey, there was speculation about Jon’s problem on Reddit and concert reviews dating back several years, even one from his home state of New Jersey. In his review for the April 3 show in Saint Paul, Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center, Ross Raihala from the Pioneer Press called Jon’s vocals “shockingly poor” and said that he not only butchered the old stuff, but he butchered the current stuff as well. In his review for the April 8 show in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Spectrum Center, Théoden Janes from The Charlotte Observer cut Jon some slack, but noted that he was in and out of key for songs like “The Radio Saved My Life Tonight” and “It’s My Life,” and during every chorus of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” he was unintentionally behind the beat.
I looked up some clips from a recent show in Tampa, Florida on April 15, and they weren’t very good! Like I mentioned before, they were painful to watch and it looked like Jon was in pain too. Like seriously, he looks like he needs medical assistance or something. The long notes, especially, are really unsettling to listen to. Another observation I made is that on the low-energy, acoustic performances, like the acoustic rendition of “We Don’t Run” for Ukraine at the April 1 show, Jon sounded decent. That performance had a country/folk feel to it, and to be honest, I always thought his vocals suited country anyways. Unfortunately, the casual fans don’t want to hear low-energy performances of relatively new songs, they want the big 80s stadium anthems (with the exception of “Keep the Faith” from 1992).
On a side note, I’ve always believed that Richie Sambora was a better singer than Jon. And there are people that agree with me (sort of). According to a few tweets I found on Blabbermouth.net, Sambora carried a lot of the vocals for Bon Jovi, and covered for Jon throughout his time with the band. The classics don’t sound the same without Sambora’s big backing vocals. When I first got into Bon Jovi in 2020, I researched the band and concluded that the band changed a lot since Sambora’s departure. Their sound was different because Sambora co-wrote the band’s biggest hits and onstage, the band looked lost. They are completely unrecognizable now, especially with the additions of Phil X on lead guitar, and touring musicians Everett Bradley and John Shanks.
Longtime bassist Hugh McDonald technically has been with Bon Jovi since 1994, but he didn’t become an official band member until 2016. I wonder why it took McDonald so long to become an official member of the band. Is it because Jon was too cheap to pay him the same amount that Torres and Bryan were paid?
But anyways, I’m not saying that Sambora should rejoin Bon Jovi since there’s no way I want him to be part of that joke. However, I am worried about him because he’s been in rough shape recently. There’s been speculation that Sambora has been working on a new studio album for the past couple of years, but he’s holding back from releasing it.
To top it off, there’s an interview he did with Fox News from late March of this year, and um, he was all over the place. He kept rambling, he was slurring his words at times, and looked unfocused. I don’t think he was drunk, but there was definitely something different about him (and not in a good way). While watching the interview, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, please don’t get cut off!” Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who saw the interview and some people posted a few harsh words online about his current state.
I know Sambora has noted publicly that his role in Bon Jovi was diminished and that he never got the credit he deserved, and he was upset when Jon said that Sambora didn’t have his life together. But if he really does have his life together, then he needs to step it up and make the most out of the time he has left. If he has a new studio album ready, then he should release it! We aren’t getting any younger and in today’s society, music listeners move on pretty quickly. If Sambora thinks that he can get by without Bon Jovi, then he needs to prove it and make a name for himself.
I don’t want to come off as mean because I love Sambora and think that was the best part of Bon Jovi, but it makes me mad when I see comments like, “Sambora is an embarrassment now,” etc. I want him to prove the haters wrong, not just for himself, but for his fans that actually want to hear new music from him.
So, where do we go from here? Well, it looks like things have been very shaky for both Jon and Sambora, and something needs to change! In Jon’s case, it might be time to retire already so that people can stop complaining about his painful vocals. I already mentioned what I think Sambora should do, so we don’t need to go over that again.
Sorry if this post was all over the place. I just found it very interesting that both Jon and Sambora were in rough shape at the same time, since those two were an iconic duo back in the day! So, I just wanted to share my thoughts on both situations. Also, if you’re reading this, Sambora, I’m sorry if my words were harsh!
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Do you think it’s time for Bon Jovi to call it quits? What are your thoughts on Richie Sambora’s situation? Let me know in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!