Christmas Tour 1994


In December of 1994, amid their work on their upcoming studio album, Bon Jovi took one and a half weeks out of their schedule to perform a string of benefit Christmas shows. It is unknown whether these had been set up a long time before in advance or whether it had been a more or less spontaneous decision due to a number of aspects.


Firstly, Alec John Such had just been fired from the group a few weeks before. So they may have deemed it as a (needed) opportunity to get some live shows with Hugh McDonald under their belt before heading off to their giant 1995 world tour. At this time, Jon was still reluctant to answer if Hugh was to be their live bassist or not and these gigs may have been the band trying to find out if the chemistry was enough for doing more than studio work together.


Secondly, the work on what was Open All Night and then These Days proved to be more and more of a tough marathon. Jon and Richie had been working on it since the dawn of 1994 and, by the time early December hit, a complete bunch of recording sessions had already been binned because Jon didn’t like the mood, the tunings and more. All of this combined, Bon Jovi might’ve seen these gigs as an opportunity to get a clear head again and have a change from spending day in and day out in the studio.


In terms of setlists, these shows appeared like crazy “anything goes” setlists on first look, but upon the second one it gets clear that not too much had changed to the latter stages of the Keep The Faith tour other than the order being turned completely upside down. It became obvious that they wanted to cut off the tails of the 80’s with a lot of common concert tunes having gotten completely ignored here: There was no Runaway, no semi-regulars like I’d Die For You, Wild In The Streets, Born To Be My Baby and the likes and, despite their final show, even You Give Love A Bad Name wasn’t played on most occasions. No show held more than five pre-90’s songs, usually there were only three or four.


At the same time, room was given to individual band members to take lead vocals on tunes which lead to David and Richie having spot for songs in each show and even to Tico singing lead on Waltzing Matilda at the final Christmas concert in Red Bank. Furthermore, the hits off Crossroad were included, but Always was still played with a piano lead-in in contrast to the drum introduction of the album that was going to become the pattern the live.


While being at it, Bon Jovi took the opportunity to premiere new songs off their upcoming album. Despite the lead single, it’s remarkable that Something For The Pain, Lie To Me and (It’s Hard) Letting You Go appeared when keeping in mind that these songs were not to re-enter the setlists regularly until the second half of 1995!


Still, if you were a fan in the US and wanted to experience a show “out of the box”, this was the time to be around! 

Song statistic


The setlists from 4 of those 5 shows are known. So all the following statements refer to those 4 shows. If a song got played 100 % it means it got played during every of those known 4 shows.


The  shows had songs from 7 different albums (incuding Jon's solo album Blaze Of Glory and Richie Sambora's solo album Stranger In This Town). Even 4 songs from These Days got played, although the recording sessions weren't even finished at that point.


Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bad Medicine, Lay Your Hands On Me, Blood On Blood, Blood Money, Blaze Of Glory, Stranger In This Town, Keep The Faith, Dry County, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Please Come Home For Christmas and I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas were played at every show.

Besides those original (or at least recorded) songs, the coversongs Help, With A Little Help From My Friends, Let It Bleed and Jumpin' Jack Flash appeared in every show as well.


One of the remarkable things during that 5 shows was the dropping of Livin' On A Prayer (3 appearances) and You Give Love A Bad Name (2 appearances) in some of the shows.

Born To Be My Baby, a setlist staple ever since it got introduced, was dropped completely during that small tour. And it would appear only a handful of times during their 1995 tour as well.


(Click on the images to enlarge them)