I like music - a great deal. I like live music a great deal and over the years I have been to a number of concerts.

More recently though the regularity has diminished somewhat. Most of the bands I like either no longer exist, are dead or just far below their best.

Recently though the chance to see a couple of concerts did come up - although for bands that are more my wife's taste than mine, so...

Last week we went to see Whitesnake / Def Leppard at the Birmingham N.E.C. Arena, and last night was Bon Jovi at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

(I can't complain, I have dragged her to see Dream Theater and Yes over the years. And although she doesn't mind either band I believe her opinion of them is akin to mine of the bands we have seen in the last week.)

Well they were good, enjoyable even for a non-fan. Whitesnake are not the same band they were once. Literally! Only Coverdale remains from the classic line-ups of the 1980s. But they were pretty good, even superb on "Here I Go Again". Def Leppard though took the performance level up a few notches in every regard...but one.

Their playing is near flawless and the songs have an energy, problem is Joe Elliot's voice is not really up to the earlier songs anymore. Fine on the new stuff, pretty good on the Hysteria songs but "Rock of Ages" suffered a bit. Enjoyable night though.

Last night was different though. The concert got off to a bad start. Getting to the arena was a nightmare. Traffic queues everywhere. By the time we got parked and in the support act had come and gone.

Then the Bon Jovi set didn't exactly get off to a flyer. The sound was appalling for the first handful of songs - muddy, varying widely in volume and I think there were lyrics in there somewhere. But they fixed it and for the majority of the gig it was spot on.

The band's performance was wonderful - and, remember, I am not a fan. They played a couple of new songs (not overdoing the new album as Ruch did on the last tour) and loads of old stuff. Throw in a couple of party favourite cover-versions ("Twist and Shout", "Back in the USSR" and "Shout") and it was a superb performance. Even including the smaltzy bit when he got an eight-year-old kid on stage to do some vocals.

And the best bit of all - Jon Bon Jovi's voice is flawless. He can still hit all the notes and, if anything, the power is greater than it's ever been.

Despite the problems at the start this was a great night.

And to top it off the tour programme had a certain quality to it.


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