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  MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS

BON JOVI

Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
19th September 2015
and
Grand Prix, Singapore
20th September 2015

Photos By Doug McLean

mark taylor



bon jovi

Bon Jovi surprised their fans recently by announcing a Far East tour kicking off in Jakarta,Indonesia and rounding off in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The tour was in support of their new album 'Burning Bridges', the 'fan' album made up of unfinished songs from the past and a few from the present, before Bon Jovi deliver their next proper album reportedly called 'This House Is Not For Sale' due early next year.

This Far East tour hasn't been without its upheavals, with Chinese officials cancelling the Shanghai, Bejing and Taipei dates because the band had used an image of the Dalai Lama in a previous tour which was sensitive enough for the Chinese government not to stamp the passports of the New Jersey boys.

This resulted in a hastily added date at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand with tickets only going on sale just three days before showtime.

Article continues below...



That Bangkok announcement came too late for me as I had already booked a flight from the idyllic island of Koh Samui to see Jon boy and his gang in action in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

bon jovi

The Stadium Merdeka is situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur with the Petronas towers glowing in the night sky line. It was here back in 1975 that Muhammad Ali beat Joe Bugner by an unanimous decision, and despite no alcohol being on sale at the venue in this majority Muslim state, the evening still proved to be a knockout.

This was the first full tour proper without Richie Sambora but with or without him Bon Jovi are still a massive draw and have no problem selling out stadiums.

Guitarist Phil X has been accepted by the fans and does a sterling job but it does feel that Jon Bon Jovi has to work a little harder without his former sidekick.

Now reduced to just three original and only official members, it does seem to get a little crowded up there on stage with the addition of another new face in New Jersey blues guitarist Matt O'Ree added as rhythm guitarist and clearly enjoying himself in the spotlight.

bon jovi

Even though I was in the sixth row the sound was rather quiet as Bon Jovi hit the stage not helped by the rather subdued opening of three more recent numbers in the country flavoured 'Who Says You Can't Go Home', 'Lost Highway' and 'Whole Lot of Leavin' .

For these, Jon Bon Jovi had acoustic in hand and teeth shinier than the bright stars overhead, but the show and audience picked up for the double whammy of 'Raise Your Hands' and the global smash of 'You Give Love A Bad Name'.

New song 'We Don't Run' is a change of style for the band but they seemed to gel performing this grower of a gritty number. 'It's My Life' is a resounding crowd pleaser with everyone punching the air and singing the chorus.

Jovi gets among the crowd down the front for 'We Got It Goin' On' with fans frantically getting their phones out for a quick once in a lifetime selfie with the glamour god of rock.

bon jovi

With Sambora absent Jovi puts more focus on keyboardist David Bryan who even rather amiably sang the first two verses to 'In These Arms' giving the frontman a good breather in this humid heat.

I'm sure the heat played its part in the encores too, as unlike on the other dates where the band have been performing up to five numbers the Malays were treated to just two although a belting 'Have A Nice Day' and the karaoke smash of 'Livin' On A Prayer' was enough to send everyone home happy.

The next day Bon Jovi were performing as part of the aftershow entertainment at the Grand Prix in Singapore, where you could only attend if you had a Grand Prix ticket pass.

Luckily I struck gold with a tout outside and got inside for a bargain S$80 and even got to watch the last 45 minutes of the Grand Prix from a grandstand seat. Vroom!!!!

Bon Jovi hit the stage at 10.30pm local time and I was surprised by how fired up the crowd were considering that most here were Grand Prix fans and would only casually know the Bon Jovi hits.

bon jovi

Thankfully the sound here was twice as loud as the previous night and the band seemed more determined to have fun and rock the joint.

The set was tweaked from the night before, this time opening with the marvellous 'That's What The Water Made Me' but diving head first straight into 'You Give Love A Bad Name', a much more direct opening.

The band were playing with more vigour and energy with 'We Weren't Born To Follow' and 'Because We Can' having a more looser and rolling feel to them.

bon jovi

The heat here was exhausting. Jon Bon Jovi was sweating buckets on stage, I don't know how he found the energy to run around on stage as my clothing was still soaking wet the next day and I was just standing watching, thankfully with an ice cold beer and boy did I need it!

'Someday I'll Be Saturday Night' was done acoustically before the cowboy dream of 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' which turned into a nightmare for Phil X as his guitar conked out right on cue for the guitar break, resulting in the song being stopped halfway through and Jovi jovially joking that the guitar tech "Has got a long walk home tonight", but like the true professionals that they are and on the count of 1-2-3-4,Jon Bon Jovi shouts out "On guitar Phil X" as he tears back into the solo for a storming finale.

By now Bon Jovi were firing on all cylinders with 'Keep The Faith' given an extended workout with great organ work from David Bryan that Jon Lord would've been proud of and guitar duelling from Phil X and Matt O'Ree.

'Bad Medicine' sent the party into overdrive. A sublime version of 'Runaway' was added to the encores and 'Livin' On A Prayer' started off acoustically before going full tilt in an explosive mass singalong.

The chequered flag was waved and on this performance it is still Bon Jovi on the winners podium when it comes to arena rock.

Kuala Lumpur set list:
Who Says You Can't Go Home
Lost Highway
Whole Lot of Leavin'
Raise Your Hands
You Give Love a Bad Name
We Weren't Born to Follow
We Don't Run
It's My Life
Because We Can
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
What About Now
We Got It Goin' On
In These Arms
Wanted Dead or Alive
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Keep the Faith
Bad Medicine
Encore:
Have a Nice Day
Livin' on a Prayer

bon jovi

Singapore set list:
That's What the Water Made Me
You Give Love a Bad Name
Raise Your Hands
We Weren't Born to Follow
We Got It Goin' On
We Don't Run
It's My Life
Because We Can
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
Wanted Dead or Alive
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Keep the Faith
Bad Medicine
Encore:
Runaway
Have a Nice Day
Livin' on a Prayer

bon jovi



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Bon Jovi have shot a new promo video for 'We Don't Run' using live footage from the Jakarta and Bangkok shows:







1.10.15










 


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