Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why Bon Jovi at Slane Castle will be the yawn gig of 2013

And so, it comes to pass: the powers-that-be have finally found a headliner for Slane Castle who are way, way worse than Stereophonics. The desperation which is about to ensue to make sure Bon Jovi sell enough tickets to take …

Tue, Oct 30, 2012, 10:51

   

And so, it comes to pass: the powers-that-be have finally found a headliner for Slane Castle who are way, way worse than Stereophonics. The desperation which is about to ensue to make sure Bon Jovi sell enough tickets to take the dirty look off that big field next year will make you yearn for the Neil Diamond radio ads of summer 2011. You’ll welcome those pay-your-TV-licence ads with open arms by the time this gig is over. Hell, you’ll probably even recall the digital switchover ads fondly.


Bon Jovi: coming to a hilly field in Co Meath in 2013

The Jovi are regular visitors to these shores, but have gradually seen the natives go from ‘yeah’ to ‘meh’ about them. How else can you explain the band’s slump from playing Croke Park (2006) and Punchestown (2008) to having massive problems selling two RDS shows in 2011? The answer is in the dates. The band, like so many heritage acts who haven’t scored a crossover hit this century (hello Red Hot Chili Peppers) have overplayed their hand. They keep touring because they are not having big hits so they keep hitting the dedicated fanbase for the cash. That dedicated fanbase is happy to keep paying but everyone else just shrugs their shoulders and walks on by. Bon Jovi? Are those mullet heads still going?

This also makes you wonder just how much money superstar acts actually need. While the story about James Blunt cashing in his chips and heading to Ibiza turned out to be a bit of a whopper, you could (jealously, mind) concur with the singer-songwriter’s desire to leave it all behind. He’d made his money and now, he wanted to enjoy it. But why exactly are the Jovi still touring and charging mad money for the tickets? Yes, we know about the PR wheeze about cheapo ‘from £12.50′ tickets, but you can bet the gross from this Slane Castle gig will be calibrated with seven figures in mind. Surely, Jon Bon Jovi would prefer to stay home and keep an eye on his commendable pay-what-you-want Red Bank restaurant? Didn’t they make enough cash from all those hits in the Eighties?

Bon Jovi at Slane is also surely the final nail in the coffin for that silly, laughable notion that the Co Meath venue is still a prestige location for event shows. It’s telling that there has been so little repeat business there over the years. With the exception of the Rolling Stones (who would play in your bathroom if you paid them enough), headliners never return to top the bill in that big field again. The acts know, like their audiences know, that things have moved on. Aside from the diehards, live music fans want more than a trip to Slane with all the transport headaches and problems it brings when they go to a big live show. They want a new deal. In a music business where city festivals, multi-day events like the Electric Picnics and such boutique gatherings as Body & Soul, Castlepalooza and Drop Everything are the choice of a generation, the big day out at Slane Castle and the overcooked fuss around it is an anachronism, a reminder of how things used to be when it came to live music. Thankfully, those days are, for the most part, over. Time to move on.

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