Tour Statistic & Summary
Tourname: The Circle
The Circle tour was the one where people had really high hopes and expectations right from the beginning. This was due to the band having finished the Lost Highway tour on an incredibly high level and the Circle album originally having been very well received amongst fans.
Like on so many previous occasions, Jon had announced beforehand that the band were going to dig into the rare album cuts. But this time around, it seemed to be true since the first shows in Honolulu, which had been announced as “warm-up” concerts, featured rare cuts from the first two albums like Tokyo Road, Roulette, Get Ready, Shot Through The Heart or Only Lonely.
However, a few concerts into the first leg of the tour and probably due to the lack of audience reception in the US, they were taken off the setlists again and replaced by the Lost Highway / Whole Lot of Leavin’ combo.
After a few shows for “getting the dust off”, the band got into a great rhythm and even though the setlists had become very stale by the end of the first arena leg, Jon’s vocals and the overall performances reached a very high level. By the end of that leg, they started their US stadium leg which included them opening the newly-built New Meadowlands Arena (which had replaced Giants Stadium) on three consecutive sold-out nights. During these nights, for the only time since 2001, extensive fireworks were used while the band was performing Keep The Faith.
They then went on to Europe to perform their O2 residency in London, along with three other tour dates. This had originally been planned in order to compensate for the lack of concerts at the arena where Michael Jackson had been set to play 50 sold-out shows. After his death, different artists were approached in order to fill the gap and Bon Jovi announced 12 concerts there. This spawned a lot of rage amongst fans since ticket prices were insanely high in comparison to how they had been priced on previous European tours and even led to Jon being asked about it on National UK TV in late 2009. David Bryan was missing on one of these concerts due to his musical “Memphis” winning four Tony awards and was replaced by Jeff Kazee for that night.
The band was in great form for the O2-run and Jon’s vocals pretty much at their peak of this era, but the shows turned out to be a bit of hit and miss. 70 songs had been planned to be played and, including covers, they totaled 74 tunes at the end of the run. However, while about half of the shows were packed to the extreme with rarities, others were pretty much standard which led to fans feeling a bit let-down after having caught one of the more regular concerts. Many had also hoped for the band to use this 12-night run for playing some albums in full lengths, but this didn’t happen. Even though there were some let-downs, this residency still featured some very exclusive performances like acoustic renditions of These Days, The Last Night or the return of songs like (It’s Hard) Letting You Go or Santa Fe which fans never would’ve expected beforehand.
Something that also had become clear around this time of the tour was that the band had lost a bit of faith in their most current album. Initially, performances of the new material had been very well worked out with a huge amount of prepared screen animations, a staged walk during Work For The Working Man, the dual guitar solo by Jon and Richie at the end of Thorn In My Side or the extended renditions of Love’s The Only Rule which ran often twice as long as the album track itself. However, as the tour went on, more and more songs dropped from the setlists to only reappear occasionally. Furthermore Brokenpromiseland, a fan favourite from the beginning, only got performed once in Honolulu and never returned again. With three songs not being played at all (Live Before You Die, Fast Cars, Learn To Love), this album had the highest amount of material that wouldn’t get performed live since 7800° Fahrenheit.
The summer saw the Bon Jovi return to the New Meadowlands Stadium for a fourth show. Hopes ran high since they had been on top of their game beforehand, but this night nowadays only is remembered for everything going wrong. They sounded unrehearsed, Jon’s vocals were off, Richie had a major screw-up in Have A Nice Day and, top it all off, Jon tore his calf-muscle during the encore. They got back on track quite fast though and pretty much kept their rhythm for the rest of the year. The South American leg is especially remembered for the band’s shows in Brazil, where Jon threw the setlist out of the window halfway through the Rio concert and played as many Circle songs as he wanted and Argentina, where audience and band pushed each other to new heights, resulting in 4 encores and one hell of a show.
After two concerts in Tokyo where the low amount of Japanese shows made it clear that the band’s popularity was fading since the release of the Lost Highway record, the band went on to New Zealand and Australia to finish their 2010 concert run.
Especially the final of the three nights in Sydney is still remembered by fans as the show where they pulled out all stops. A setlist containing rarities like I Believe, Something To Believe In, Dry County and These Days plus a thunderstorm midway through the show with pouring rain led to one of the most inspired and highest quality performances of the post-2000 era.
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