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December 27, 2005

You can't take Jersey out of Bon Jovi

"Have a Nice Day," the band's ninth studio album, sounds like classic Bon Jovi with additional harmonies by guitarist Richie Sambora and other band mates.

You can't take Jersey out of Bon Jovi

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Who says you can't go home again? "Not me," Jon Bon Jovi told a packed Continental Airlines Arena Monday night as images of the Jersey shore flashed on a massive video screen.

The boyishly handsome singer from Sayreville will perform in his home state again tonight and Thursday. Both shows start at 7:30 at the arena.

At Monday's concert, Bon Jovi repeatedly paid homage to where he was raised with songs such as "Who Says You Can't Go Home," the fourth track off "Have a Nice Day," his latest album.

"Been round the world as a matter of fact," he sang. "There's only one place I want to roam."

Bon Jovi certainly was home again Monday night.

The crowd belted all the lyrics from hits off the band's first albums "Slippery When Wet" (1986) and "New Jersey" (1988). And they knew all the words to "Runaway," the song that launched then-John Bongiovi's music career after he handed a demo with the song to a Long Island disc jockey in 1980.

Bon Jovi recalled that story Monday before performing his first hit.

He said he told the deejay: "I know the chords. I got the melody. Play this song for me. I'm going to be a rock-and-roll star."

With his latest album, Bon Jovi has become more than just a rock-and-roll star. He has reached near iconic status.

The singer had sold more than 100,000,000 albums worldwide before releasing "Have a Nice Day" this year. Shows on the current tour have consistently sold out.

The appeal of this new album partly stems from its similarity to the catchy, anthemic, party staples that made the blond-haired, blue-jeaned Jersey boy a global phenomenon.

"Have a Nice Day," the band's ninth studio album, sounds like classic Bon Jovi with additional harmonies by guitarist Richie Sambora and other band mates.

Monday's audience was treated to several of these songs as well as many of the early tracks for which Bon Jovi is best known.

The show opened with Bon Jovi in the midst of the crowd, belting the lyrics to "Last Man Standing," a track off the new album. It was quickly followed with "You Give Love a Bad Name," off the group's debut album.

Bon Jovi knows his audience. This is New Jersey, the place where '80s hair bands not only dominated the stage, but had everyone teasing and hair-spraying their bangs well into the 1990s.

The band alternated between new songs and old favorites throughout the night.

The music mix made the show largely flawless, aside from a brief feedback problem in the beginning of the second song. (Bon Jovi later addressed the technical difficulties saying, "That's all right, you're allowed to make mistakes, you're at home with friends," before launching into "Who Says You Can't Go Home.") While Bon Jovi may not be able to go home figuratively - the hair band era is gone, after all - he is clearly still at home with his female fans.

When the 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 gave in to Bon Jovi, waving their hands when asked and pumping their arms to mimic his stage antics.

He had the whole arena standing for much of his two-hour set. Bon Jovi finished the first hour and a half with "Living on a Prayer," which he started in the emotional acoustic manner the band popularized during their early 1980s performances.

After closing with "Prayer," Bon Jovi and the band returned to the stage for a multi-song encore including "Blood on Blood" and what Bon Jovi called the band's national anthem, "Wanted Dead or Alive."

The encore lasted a half-hour. Bon Jovi joked that it was fine to play for a long time.

"I've got nowhere to go, I'm home already."

Posted by riesambo at December 27, 2005 12:47 PM