Jon Bon Jovi’s performances were notably shaky and off-key — a criticism that was consistent across numerous concert reviews. To Hawkins’ ear, Bon Jovi sounded “tired” rather than hindered by a vocal cord problem such as a polyp. Hawkins suggested that it’s psychological, and called for the band’s camp to step in.
“It sounds like he needs some kind of therapy,” Hawkins said on his YouTube series “Justin Hawkins Rides Again” [as transcribed by Blabbermouth]. “It doesn’t sound like it’s a polyp or some sort of lump on his vocal cords ’cause that would be more unpredictable — he would be hitting the notes and then it would squeak off and it would do something unexpected. … But that’s not what’s happening here. This sounds like he’s super tired.”
Bon Jovi has been singing in a lower key inherently due to age, with his band also adjusted to a lower tuning. Still, the singer hasn’t been able to find the “muscle memory” in his voice, according to Hawkins estimation. Hearing loss could also be a factor.
“It sounds like something he’s gonna need some therapy with — actually talk to somebody and try and coax the performances back out,” Hawkins said. “It doesn’t sound to me like there’s damage in there. I’m not a doctor but I’ve experienced voice problems before. And to hold a note with it being off key suggests some pitching issues that might be to do with hearing, as well.”
Hawkins concluded, “It’s not fun to watch this and it isn’t fun to regard one of the greats. He’s a great singer — he always has been — but this sounds like something is eating away at him from the inside. … And I feel like the people around him need to tell him to stop.”
Below you can watch Hawkins discuss Bon Jovi’s vocal issues and view some concert clips from the recent tour.