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July 15, 2008

Playing the Park

Highlights of the set included the funk-tinged "Keep the Faith" and Sambora's impassioned vocals on "I'll Be There For You."
Playing the Park

Bon Jovi plays the Great Lawn and the crowd sings along

NEW YORK -- During the encore of his free concert in Central Park Saturday, Jon Bon Jovi pointed out that he had done something that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had never done by playing the Great Lawn. However, Luciano Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel and Garth Brooks had been there, along with Diana Ross, Dave Matthews and Pope John Paul II.

That's pretty heady company (not including the Dalai Lama) for a boy from Sayreville. Throughout the two-hour, 19-song set, Bon Jovi and his cohorts seemed to be having the time of their lives. The crowd was right there with them. They waved their hands in the air, swayed in the welcome breezes and shouted along with their favorite choruses.

The band has built up a body of work during the quarter century or so it has been wandering the world. The hits are instantly recognizable and the band plays like it's still trying to convert people to the cause. This is a welcome touch from rock 'n' roll veterans, some of whom are texting it in these days.

Bon Jovi himself went through three shirts -- a sleeveless black number accessorized by muscles and tattoos, a blue short-sleeved job that aspired to be belly wear and, lastly, a red shirt unbuttoned all the way down. Guitarist Richie Sambora sported a black jacket with silver trim and another topper that looked like snake skin. All of this showed up nicely on the giant video screens above the stage and behind the tech tent.

But enough about fashion. This crowd, estimated to be about 40,000 by concert security, was there for their favorites. They got them. Bon Jovi started off with "Livin' on a Prayer" and segued quickly into "You Give Love A Bad Name." As cameras spun above the audience (the band shot the proceedings for an upcoming DVD), "Lost Highway" was up next. Then the band dug deep into its catalog for "Runaway," which appeared on the eponymous 1984 album.

Highlights of the set included the funk-tinged "Keep the Faith" and Sambora's impassioned vocals on "I'll Be There For You."

"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" was punctuated by a bit of "Twist and Shout." This presaged the appearance of "Shout" at the close of "Bad Medicine," which capped the pre-encore set.

Bon Jovi opened the encore with "Always," and gave shoutouts to Mayor Bloomberg, the police and firefighters after pointing that the show had to end at 10. From there, Sambora strapped on the double neck acoustic guitar and played the familiar opening to "Wanted Dead or Alive." The crowd supplied just about all the words, singing as though they hadn't just whooped their way through the preceding two hours. The show ended with "I Love This Town." As concertgoers filed out, they heard another Jersey guy, Frank Sinatra, singing "New York New York." He didn't play Central Park either.

Livin' on A Prayer

You Give Love A Bad Name

Lost Highway

Born To Be My Baby

I'll Sleep when I'm Dead

(Twist and Shout)

Blaze of Glory

Whole Lot of Leavin'

In These Arms

We Got It Goin' On

It's My Life

I'll Be There For You (Richie Sambora vocal)

Have A Nice Day

Keep the Faith

Who Says You Can't Go Home

Bad Medicine




Wanted Dead or Alive

I Love This Town

Posted by riesambo at July 15, 2008 06:20 AM