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December 21, 2005

Concert review: Bon Jovi

The band’s latest album sounds like classic Bon Jovi, with additional harmonies by guitarist Richie Sambora and other bandmates.

Concert review: Bon Jovi

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


For a complete review, see Wednesday’s Entertainment section of The Record.

Who says you can’t go home again?

“Not me,” Jon Bon Jovi told a packed Continental Airlines Arena on Monday night as images of the Jersey Shore flashed on a massive video screen.

“Been round the world as a matter of fact,” he sang, belting the lyrics of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” the fourth track off “Have a Nice Day,” his ninth studio album.

“There’s only one place I want to roam.”

That’s Sayreville, where the still boyishly handsome frontman of Bon Jovi grew up. The town he lived in when he was just John Bongiovi. Before he recorded “Runaway,” the song that he handed to a Long Island disc jockey in 1980, launching his rock star career.

He recalled the story Monday before performing his first hit.

He said, “Mr. DJ, I know the chords. I got the melody. Play this song for me. I’m going to be a rock and roll star.”

Bon Jovi went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide. His success is partly from knowing his audience.

The band’s latest album sounds like classic Bon Jovi, with additional harmonies by guitarist Richie Sambora and other bandmates.

During Monday’s show the band alternated between anthemic hits from early albums “Slippery When Wet” (1986) and “New Jersey” (1988) and tracks off 2005’s “Have a Nice Day.” Shows are also set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Bon Jovi’s song selection shows he knows his audience. This is New Jersey, where the packed arena sang every lyric to “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Living on a Prayer,” from Bon Jovi’s breakthrough album.

This crowd wanted to hear the favorites from the days when ’80s hair bands ruled the stage and stiffly hairsprayed teased bangs were the look.

Those days are gone. The crowd, predominantly women of all ages and their dates, was coiffed a la 2005.

What hasn’t changed is Bon Jovi’s effect on the ladies. When the now 43-year-old frontman went into the crowd to perform “Bed of Roses,” girls of all ages scampered to touch his hands and swooned in his presence.

Bon Jovi is still the king of the pop-rock love song. He proved it again and again, singing tunes such as “Born to Be My Baby,” “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There For You.”

After performing “Novocaine,” a track from 2005’s release, Bon Jovi addressed the ladies directly.

“Want to know the truth and nothing but the truth,” he said between songs. “The truth is women have always ruled the world. … I’m here to testify to one thing. We know we get kicked around some but it’s all worth the sacrifice of sweet surrender.”

The audience largely surrendered to Bon Jovi, waving their hands when he asked and pumping their arms in imitation of his stage antics.

He had the whole arena standing for much of the two-hour set. Bon Jovi finished the first hour and a half with “Living on a Prayer,” which he began in the emotional acoustic manner he popularized when the band first performed acoustically in the 1980s.

Afterward, Bon Jovi and the band returned to the stage for a multi-song encore, including “Blood on Blood” and what he called the band’s national anthem: “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

The encore lasted half an hour. Bon Jovi joked that it was all right to play for a long time because no one would be able to work with the transit strike.

Besides, he added, “I’ve got nowhere to go, I’m home already.”


1. Last Man Standing
2. You Give Love a Bad Name
3. Complicated
4. Born to Be My Baby
5. Story of My Life
6. Sleep When I’m Dead
7. Runaway
8. Bounce
9. Novocaine
10. Have a Nice Day
11. Who Says You Can’t Go Home
12. It’s My Life
13. I’ll Be There For You
14. Blaze of Glory
15. Bed of Roses
16. Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars
17. Bad Medicine
18. Raise Your Hands
19. Living on a Prayer
20. Welcome to Wherever You Are
21. Everyday
22. A cover of “Hey Hey Hey Hey” (cover)
23. Blood on Blood
24. Wanted Dead or Alive
25. Run Run Rudolph (cover)

Posted by riesambo at December 21, 2005 09:07 AM