Bon Jovi – ANZ Stadium, December 14, 2013

The rain stayed away. When I left the “Gong” with my wife and two boys, the rain was coming down hard. Driving for 30 minutes, the sun came out. After driving for two hours to get to the venue, the sun was still out and it was very humid. This is my boys second concert. The first one being the Kiss and Motley Crue “Monster” tour of Australia in April this year.

Before we left for the trip, I went onto Setlist.fm and made up a playlist for our trip up to the venue. I assumed that since Melbourne and Sydney are treated more or less the same in relation to how overseas acts see the two cities, that the set lists would be very similar. And they were. Basically we listened to the set as we where driving up.

So we get to Homebush and apart from the normal rips’ like $25 parking, $50 a top (which meant I handed over $150 to merchandise) and $15 for a chips, drink and sausage roll deal, the first thing I noticed was the stage design. Seeing the stage design in pictures or on fan filmed YouTube footage doesn’t do it justice. It is a great concept and a great idea.

It is fitting that they opened up with the best song from the “What About Now” album. “That’s What the Water Made Me” is the only tune they should be pushing from that new album. It took the mixer crew about 3 seconds to realise that they needed to press a button so that the rest of the stadium hears the sound. So you can say that the start didn’t have the WOW factor.

That’s what the water made me That’s who I am and what I’ll be

We can’t change how we are made, how we have grown up and what we believe in. Of course we can adapt to situations and sometimes we can fake a different personality but in the end, we all fall back to how we were made and what we are.

This world, it’s cracked and crazy
Say one of your pretty prayers for me
No roles in the garden? Or Wishing well?

Life is no Garden of Eden. It never was and it never will be. We have copyright granted monopolies fighting hard to control the internet. We have people working 12 hour days just to see all of their money go to the mortgage, to the utility companies and just to basic survival goods. At night, we might feel better saying a pretty prayer, but that is all it is. The World is cracked and Crazy.

So after opening up with a new one, they went back to 1986 with two classics “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Raise Your Hands” from the “Slippery When Wet” album.

Both songs are designed for the live show and they work a treat. While “You Give Love A Band Name” gets people singing, “Raise Your Hands” gets people moving, with 50,000 plus hands raised as one each time the Chorus hit.

Then we had “Lost Highway” and “Whole Lot of Leavin'” from 2007’s “Lost Highway” album. While “Lost Highway” has become a live staple of the Bon Jovi show, I cant say that “Whole Lot of Leavin'” deserves the same treatment. I am sure a better song could have been inserted, like “Runaway” or “In And Out Of Love” or my personal favourite “This Is Love, This Is Life.”

The next song was a cover of the Bob Seger classic “Old Time Rock & Roll” with Kid Rock assisting, along with his backing singers and sax player. Watching the performance on the big screen, the camera dude really focused on the bouncy chest of Jessie Wagner, who was one of Kid Rock’s back up singers.

“It’s My Life” from the “Crush” album was next and apart from the missing 10 second talk box and some other sound problems, the song was another sing along anthem for the crowd.

“Because We Can” and “What About Now” came next. I really don’t like “Because We Can” and when Jon tried to get the crowd to sing it back to him towards the end, he was more or less greeted with silence. It just didn’t connect. “What About Now” however is a good song, however when it is put up against the other Bon Jovi songs, it doesn’t look that good anymore.

“We Got It Goin’ On” is a real damn good song from the “Lost Highway” album with a real sleazy groove happening. It is a great song for the live show.

Is there anybody out there looking for a party? Yeah!!

Any song that starts off with that opening lyric, is designed purely for the concert. It is the call and response. A great pick me up after the lackluster double whammy from the new album.

“Keep the Faith” didn’t hit the mark. Jon really struggled with the Gm key of the song. However, the outro jam session between the band sure made up for the vocal shortcomings.

The next four songs, was the toilet break and drink break period of the concert. As much as Jon is trying to rewrite the Leonard Cohen classic, “Hallelujah” with “Amen” it just doesn’t hit the mark. I made a mention to my wife the amount of people walking toward the exit doors to stock up on booze when the song started.

So “Amen” was followed by “Someday I’ll Be A Saturday Night” in an acoustic format which was followed by “Diamond Ring” and the very underrated “(You Want to) Make a Memory”. From the catalogue of songs that Bon Jovi has, the 4 song acoustic part of the show was a let down.

However, they finished the set strong. “Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen From Mars”, “Born to Be My Baby”, “We Weren’t Born to Follow” all followed.

“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” came next, followed by “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” that had a great medley of “Great Balls of Fire”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Wipe Out” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” which showcased the vocal chops of fill in guitarist, “Phil X”.

Since AC/DC are Aussie legends, you can’t go wrong when you cover AccaDacca. Even Billy Joel covered AC/DC for his Stone Festival performance, playing “Long Way To The Top”.

“Bad Medicine” finished off the set (also with a small detour that included “Oh, Pretty Woman”.

I saw that for the second Melbourne show, Bon Jovi played “Dry County” which is my favourite Bon Jovi track by far and I was hoping that would be the case in Sydney.

So when the opening chords for “In These Arms” kicked off the encore, I guessed it wasn’t to be. “Wanted Dead or Alive” followed, this time without the usual Richie Sambora acoustic theatrics to kick it off. Finally the night ended with “Have a Nice Day” and of course “Livin’ on a Prayer”. We (along with the other 50,000 plus crowd) sung the last two songs that hard and for long parts of those songs the crowd drowned out Jon’s actual vocals.

So did the audience miss Richie Sambora? As much as it pains me to say it, NO, he wasn’t missed. Apart from about 5 poorly selected song choices, it was a solid set, with the actual songs as the STARS. No one cared who wrote the songs.

Will Bon Jovi do the same numbers again if they return with the current incarnation of the band? My view is NO. Watching some of the facials and the way Jon was carrying himself, it is like he knew this could be the last time Bon Jovi graces Australia.

Was it an enjoyable night? It was. The looks on my kids faces was worth it. I still would have loved to see some of the earlier stuff, as well as the “This Is Love, This Is Life.”

Thanks for the 30 years, let’s hope that the Richie Sambora issues get all sorted for a return performance, (hopefully it will be easier on the pocket).

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Five Finger Death Punch – What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics?

Since Five Finger Death Punch are about to release new music, I thought it was time to look back at same of the great lyrics Ivan Moody has written.

The Pride (2011) from American Capitalist

It’s the 2011 version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” Five Finger Death Punch has a history of using vocal melodies from other songs.  The current single, Lift Me Up is proof of that.  I am all for it.  Derivative works is how music has evolved throughout the ages.

Zoltan Bathory has also said that the message in the song is about rebelling “against your circumstances, laziness and mediocrity — not the system.”

Johnny Cash And PBR
Jack Daniels, Nascar
Facebook, Myspace
IPod, Bill Gates
Smith and Wesson, NRA
Firewater, Pale Face
Dimebag, Tupac
Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop

A timeline of events following a similar structure to We Didn’t Start The Fire.

I will not be forgotten
This is my time to shine
I’ve got the scars to prove it
Only the strong survive
I’m not afraid of dying
Everyone has their time
I’ve never favored weakness
Welcome to the pride

The Commandments of Five Finger Death Punch.  In order to join their Pride, you need to have lived.  You need to have experienced.  You need to have loved and lost.  You need to have the scars to prove it.

Far From Home (2009) from War Is The Answer

Another day in this carnival of souls

When I see a lyric line that uses the word carnival, I immediately think of the concert experience.

The faces of people I’ll never see again
And i can’t seem to find my way home

I thought of Turn The Page by Bog Seger and Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi when I first heard Far From Home.

Ashes (2007) from The Way Of The Fist

You don’t understand me… And you probably never will!
I got a tendency to self destruct… And a soft spot, for the filth!
A hair trigger temperament… A switchblade, for a tongue!
I’m a walking 1 man genocide… With a black belt, in corrupt!

It could have come from a Motley Crue album.  It’s got that same agnst and tongue in cheek humour.  How powerful are those last five words?  A BLACK BELT IN CORRUPT. How powerful is that person?

War Is The Answer (2009) from War Is The Answer

This ain’t a test, Fuck the rest
Time to set the record strait
Talk your shit, Behind my back
Let’s hear you say it to my face
I’ve heard the words fall out your lips
You little trendy fucking bitch
The time has come to get you some
Cause i do not give a shit

We all have a version of the truth that we like to set straight on someone.  I have allowed that quest to consume me for a long time, until I finally realised one day that it’s not worth it.  Nothing was really going to change if i came out on top.

Under And Over It (2011) from American Capitalist

Did you hear the one about me being a punk?
Did you hear the one about me being a drunk?
Did you hear the one about me losing my nerve?
Or how I’m just another fucking sheep in the herd?
Did you hear about the money, how it made me change?
So funny to me, all the time that they waste.
Did you hear the one about me giving a shit?
Cause if I ever did I don’t remember it.

The song is about internet rumours.  It’s the anger in the vocals that hooks me, along with the marching pulse of the music.  You get that feeling that Ivan Moody is marching the cyber highway with his posse, trying to get the rumour mongers.

Remember Everything (2011) from American Capitalist

Remember Everything is The Devils Own ( from The Way of The Fist album released in 2007) Part 2.  The Devils Own has lyrics like, “Slap on the wrist, smacks in the face, the family tree, gave me a name, and nothing more, neglected seed.”

Oh dear mother
I love you
I’m sorry
I wasn’t good enough
Dear father
Forgive me
‘Cause in your eyes
I just never added up
In my heart I know I failed you
But you left me here alone

He is reaching out, trying to get acceptance from his parents.  Even in The Devils Own, the first verse, has the following lyrics “Where did I go wrong?, Who was I supposed to be?, No matter what I’ve done…You’ve ALWAYS criticized me, Where did I go wrong?, Who was I supposed to be?, When it’s said and done…Will you remember?”

It makes you feel sorry for him.

The Tragic Truth (2011) from American Capitalist

I’m drowning in the bottom of a bottle
Running from a man I swore I’d never be
No one ever has to face tomorrow
But I’m the one that has to face me

How true is that verse?  We are never the same when we are intoxicated.  I have sure burned a lot of bridges in my intoxicated state.  The next morning, when sobriety kicks in, is the real killer.  That is when the big fall happens.  That is when I say to myself, “what have i done?”

Are we born to be broken, sinners, and thieves

It’s that old fallback position when everything goes up in smoke.  Maybe we are all born to suffer.

Back For More (2011) from American Capitalist

It’s time to rise up, man up, get back up, never been and won’t be broken
Dust off and then come back for more
You’ve gotta reach down, dig deep, break ground,
Show them all you won’t be beaten
Brush it off and then come back for more!
Come back for more

The war cry of life.  Get back up and go back for more.

Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – The Final Word

It started with lots of promise.

Just days after the announcement the Baby Animals pull out because the festival simply “wasnt feeling right” to them.

Aussie promoter Andrew McManus told fans to be careful on Facebook, which was then removed.

News outlets started to run with stories of the drug past of Richard Cartwright, the CEO of Platinum Entertainment.

Platinum Entertainment was listed as one of the organizers. After the stories came out of the drug history, the Stone Festival PR team distanced themselves from Platinum, by stating that Cartwright’s involvement is purely based on the fact that he owns the rights to the Stone movie. However other press releases contradicted this statement.

The website Tone Deaf reproduced the statements from Andrew McManus. Tone Deaf then received a letter from lawyers representing Stone Music Festival and SEQ; the financier behind the festival. The letter asked Tone Deaf to remove the comments by 5pm as “they believe the statements have caused, and is continuing to cause, loss and damage to the business of their clients.”

Ardline Media is credited with securing talent both local and international. This causes more speculation, that something was fishy about the festival. Ardline Media is a small Sydney-based promoter and agent with no history of hosting an event on this scale.

Van Halen has a history on pulling the plug on promoters and these fears started spreading. The organizers released a statement that said the headlining acts have already been paid.

Aerosmith then joined the line up due to low sales for the same venue. Aerosmith’s tour promoter is Andrew McManus, who we all know was critical of the Stone Music Festival in the beginning.

Promoters cut ticket prices.

The ticket debacle escalates. Fans that paid $300 for standing platinum tickets. They are then told these have changed to reserve seated. Aerosmith is added, and in order to accommodate the Aerosmith fans that purchased tickets for their show, the existing Stone Festival ticket holders are told that their allocated seats are now back to standing. Then the existing ticket holders are watching people buy reserved seating in platinum for half the price.

Lifehouse pulled out in the last minute.

A day before the concert fans still haven’t received their tickets.

The rain came down, but the show went on.

Kings of Chaos stole the show.

Aerosmith and Billy Joel still have it.

David Lee Roth doesn’t have it.

Van Halen need Michael Anthony back.

Jimmy Barnes doesn’t have it.

Buckcherry was the surprise packet.

The Living End played slide guitar with a VB bottle.

And, unofficial numbers for the two day event combined is close to 30,000, which is a far cry from the 160,000 the organizers were expecting.

The Australian story

The Daily Telegraph story

The Herald Sun story

The Music Feeds story

The Tone Deaf Stories


Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – Day 2

It’s over. Done and dusted. The people have spoken and the organisers are counting their losses. Will there be another Stone Music Festival in 2014? In the current format, I don’t think so. In a different format, maybe. Will the people trust the Stone Music Festival brand after the debacle? I don’t think so. Furthermore, the Stone Music Festival, was created to celebrate the movie Stone, and the work of its director. Somehow, that all got forgotten, and in my view, this was just a marketing gimmick from the organisers to push sales. It was never their intention to honour the movie.

Here is a summary of comments doing the rounds on social media..

Would’ve been good to have had the second stage inside the stadium so while changeover was happening on the main stage the indie artists could play! That way they get to play to a massive number of people & get their music heard and we don’t have to lose our seats every time we go out to the second stage!!

I agree with putting both stages together …… as one act finishes another act starts on the 2nd stage. Unfortunately we didn’t see the independent artists …..cause we knew we would lose our seats. Congratulations though…..Looking forward to SMF 2014 !

You never got to see the ‘indie bands’ if you wanted to see the ‘Main stage’ acts.

Access to toilets, food and bar facilities were a pain in the ass as you missed the show. And yet band like the Choirboys were delegated a spot outside of the arena, during Aerosmith??? Come on people, FFS, next year pay me to schedule and organise it, think I have a better clue than the pros…

That was a stupid decision, have the two stages so far apart. What was Andrew McManus thinking when this was in the planning stages?

The music saved the day for sure and I had a fantastic time, hopefully if there is another next year the organizers will take on board all of the issues that have been so well highlighted on here, my suggestions as well as the obvious re ticketing issues such as not sending them out on time would be to make the tickets a reasonable price from the start so that you don’t have to give so many away at the end and annoy people who purchased in the beginning. Keep the website updated as not everyone finds you on Facebook where the information is more up to speed though still not 100%, minimise the blocking of views of the stage by camera people, open the indoor merchandise when the gates open especially if it is raining, better signage to explain where the second stage is, sort out sound issues, always reply to people on Facebook asking for help and advice instead of asking them to Post Messages (PM)to you and then you don’t respond with an answer on the page so that everyone can see it and you don’t have the same questions to answer repeatedly.

If you are doing a festival, you need to have information up to date and concise. You need to do it on a grand scale, not on a one on one basis. Stone Music Festival needed to have a team of social media strategists and marketeers. That is how it is done. Connecting with the fans. It’s from the bottom up these days. They should have started promoting this event last year, not in February for an April show.

Flew up from Melbourne just to see Billy. Scored sears to Saturday night…..so I know can say that I have seen Aerosmith and the god that is EVH play. Was pleasantly surprised by all the acts before Billy on the Sunday night, but the absolute highlight for me was sitting front row to my idol BJ. Best 90 minute set of the weekend for me !!!

Billy Joel and Icehouse were amazing!

Brilliant!!!!!!!! Had the best weekend….worth the trip from Qld!!!! Thanks for bringing us so much talent in one rockin weekend!!!

Didn’t get to go to Saturday gig, but saw Sunday that was freakin awesome! Billy Joel was brilliant, Diesel was fantastic, god you can play the guitar and the rest of the artist were great too! Had a fantastic night!

It was absolutely awesome. Billy Joel stole the show .

Loved it, Billy Joel, Icehouse & Diesel were amazing!

Both days were amazing!! Thank you for one of the best weekends of my life 🙂 Please do it again next year

I didn’t want it to end. Billy Joel rocked the Harbour City better than ever. Thank you!

Did billy Joel do a sound check , worst feedback ever

Good time? It was fantastic! Two days of rock music and so many legendary acts in on place. It was amazing. it was a rock-fest of epic proportions. something I will never forget being a part of. Loved it! Better publicity in other states would have been good.

Definitely a great weekend and well worth it despite all the complainers.

Billy Joel still has it. There is something different to bands who paid their dues. Billy Joel played the club circuit as an unsigned artists for a long time before he was picked up by a label. Then once he was picked, the hard work still continued and his brand grew. Young artists these days, don’t have that drive in them anymore. There is the expectation that if they write a good song, they deserve to be paid forever on that one good song.

You cancelled Lifehouse to save $$ for your failing festival!! SMF can go to hell!!!!!!!!

Not sure if there will be another stone fest as I imagine the promoters would have lost huge $$$ with the small crowds and big costs but we can hope!!

So I am looking at all these pics and I’m thinking…. One of the biggest arenas in the country and they are playing to a quarter of it??? Where are the people???? If it was such a success, why is there not 50,000+ there???

$5.80 warm bucket of chips!!!
$80 badly stitched hoodie!!!
$259 concert ticket!!!! (What a rip!!!!!)

Hats off to the organisers of stone music festival, they will received the award for the most poorly organised concert in modern history.
I received 3 lots of tickets because they couldn’t decide whether to stand, sit, stand, stuff it let’s do both. Then to us poor suckers that brought our tickets early, were punished by paying $50 more per ticket, when I emailed promoters regarding compensation for this I was promised a complimentary ticket to be sent. After sending countless emails over 2 weeks, (and not getting 1 reply), surprise, surprise didn’t receive any ticket or email!!!!! LIARS!!!!
To top it off, The Stone Run, which was the reason for the whole concert in the first place. Was just removed from their website and other advertising thinking that nobody would notice. Ticketek here promised to refund the brought tickets for this, and again still waiting, it’s been 3 weeks, have send emailed of course, with no reply!!!!!
Then I could go on and on. but will end a on lighter note to say that Living End were awesome and really rocked!!!!!!

And that is all she wrote.

Music, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival Is On

Rain, hail or shine, people, the Stone Music Festival is on.

So for the fans that want to get wet and rock n roll, it’s all systems go.  For the older fans of the older bands, you need to act like teenagers and be treated like teenagers.  Thanks for paying $300 + for a platinum ticket.

The stage was meant to be all the way back, instead they have moved it so far forward, there is like 20 metres of grass and then the stands.  This goes to show how low the ticket sales have been.

The Chinese Whispers doing the rounds stated that the organisers wanted to cancel, however they still would have had to pay Van Halen and Billy Joel their large appearance fees.

Anyway, all the best to all the people going there.  I am off to Coheed and Cambria tonight at the Metro Theatre, for $60 a ticket and I have a meet and greet with them as well.  Plus it’s indoors.  Plus i get to watch Circa Survive.  For some reason I feel like I got the better deal.