Classic act can't rock the big house at Slane
Review: Bon Jovi at Slane
ON paper it sounded just right – a classic rock act with several gigantic anthems playing one of Ireland's premier outdoor venues. However, the reality of Bon Jovi at Slane was less headbanging hedonism, more polite swaying.
After stellar supporting sets from Ham Sandwich, Bressie and The Coronas, Bon Jovi took to the stage on time wearing their generic American regalia and looked the part.
Jon Bon Jovi, all hair and teeth, commanded the stage from the word go, his admirers rapt. Older hits including 'You Give Love A Bad Name' got the nostalgia-hungry audience going, but then everything took a turn for the boring.
Several current album tracks followed; hardly what the average punter was paying for. It's not a greatest hits tour, of course, but one might think that peppering the set with well known tunes at a venue like Slane would go down well.
Even the frontman's charisma couldn't cover up the poor set-list, and in turn the atmosphere waned spectacularly.
In the first half there were a few highs, and far more filler than necessary. A sweeping camera across the crowd showed a largely stationary fan base.
The atmosphere remained positive, but the crowd were hungry for more anthems. The shining light of the latter set was a cover of the Rolling Stones' 'Start Me Up'. It woke up a crowd numbed by mediocrity towards the end.
It was only the pre-encore 'Bad Medicine' that got people going, before a half-felt farewell from the group.
In the final segment of the gig, as darkness fell and they returned for an encore, the crowd was roused for songs like 'Wanted (Dead or Alive)' and the finale 'Living On A Prayer'. Then a surprise second encore of 'Always' rang out as thousands of revellers, having given up, made their way to public transport – a case of too little too late for Jon and co.
Overall, Bon Jovi's presence is too little to sustain a crowd the size of Slane, who were really just waiting for the tunes they could sing along to. There was nothing to take away from it other than a curious mix of awe and disappointment – pleasure at having seen such a seminal band live, tinged with a feeling of being slightly short-changed.