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November 03, 2005

Bon Jovi mixes old, new, treats 'em right in D.M.


Strip away the flashy trappings of an arena rock show, provide the rock god nothing but an acoustic guitar and a microphone, and still he should be able to captivate the audience.

Bon Jovi in Des MoinesBon Jovi kicked off its international "Have aNice Day" tour at Wells Fargo Arena inDes Moines Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, playingto a sold out crowd of about 15,500.

Jon Bon Jovi accomplished that Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena, the first night of his band's "Have a Nice Day" world tour. He strummed and sang a solo version of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" about midway through an 18-song set (before two encores).

That solo turn hit pay dirt after an inconsistent early set by the full band that was steeped in new songs. Of course, some meandering was to be expected on the opening night of such a gargantuan production.

Perhaps this will be the last time you'll have to read these words before the state wrestling tournament in February: Wednesday night's throng of more than 15,500 was the largest crowd so far to visit Des Moines' new arena, edging out last week's sold-out show by Sir Paul McCartney.

The sing-along to "Livin' on a Prayer" that capped Wednesday's main set basically was a time warp. But there also were departures from the nostalgic agenda: "The Radio Saved My Life Tonight" was a pleasant rarity from the band's box set.

The true highlight was the second, extra encore of Roy Head's 1965 classic, "Treat Her Right," which featured Jon hip-swiveling on stage like Elvis.

The four core Bon Jovi band members (guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres and Jon) were fleshed out by bassist Hugh McDonald, guitarist Bob Bandiera and keyboardist Jeff Kazee (the latter two borrowed from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes). They romped through Bon Jovi oldies but also showcased no less than half the band's new "Have a Nice Day" album ・a little too generous a sampling.

Sometimes the band's extra firepower was misspent. The four acoustic guitars that strummed furiously as a gradual intro to "Blaze of Glory" seemed like too much effort for a meager result, with the vista of the Grand Canyon displayed on the giant video screen behind the band. The song's limp arrangement needs work.

Opening band the Nadas, from Des Moines, won its 30-minute slot through a local radio contest; Bon Jovi is sniffing out local talent throughout the first leg of its tour. The band proved it could hold up under the pressure of a high-profile gig and not sound puny.

Posted by riesambo at November 3, 2005 10:31 AM