Together and with The Power of We, we can start a revolution. One Soul at a time... ~Jon Bon Jovi *** There's a Story on every street corner, my friend. All you have to do is open your eyes... ~Richie Sambora

Bon Jovi Rocked Glendale...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Perhaps it's because Bon Jovi's leader is edging toward 50 or because the band still catches grief from some critics or because of another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub - whatever the reason, the 27-year old group is playing with renewed focus and power on its latest tour.

Led by Jon Bon Jovi, who turns 48 on March 2, the Grammy-winning band rocked Arena in Glendale on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in a big way.

Fans from age 10 into their 60s stayed on their feet for nearly all of the two-hour-plus show, pumping their fists to such anthems as "It's My Life," "Bad Medicine" and "You Give Love a Bad Name."

Launching into the fourth show of a two-year trek with little fanfare, Bon Jovi was pretty much all business from the start.

"I ain't gonna talk too much," Jon Bon Jovi said early on.

Looking down at the scores of women who had been sizing him up since the opening beat of 1988's "Blood on Blood" (he still looks great, a decade younger than his actual age), Bon Jovi smiled and added, "You just expect me to dance. . . . My wife pushes me around the same way."

Decked out in a leather jacket, T-shirt and tight jeans, Bon Jovi shook it occasionally throughout the show (drawing roars each time), but the singer, guitarist Richie Sambora and their bandmates rolled up their sleeves and zeroed in on the music in Glendale.

Even the band's crescent-shaped stage was modest by superstar standards, with just enough video screens to spice up certain songs while giving the crowd, which filled all corners of the arena, a clear view.

Bon Jovi's voice was in excellent form and Sambora, 50, delivered some of his cleanest leads in years, probably a byproduct of a 2007 stint in alcohol rehab.

"The very single Mr. Sambora," as Bon Jovi called him - the guitarist was once married to actress Heather Locklear and is known for his relationships with other starlets - looked happier and healthier than he did on the group's uneven 2006 stop in Glendale.

Sambora's work on such rockers as "Born to Be My Baby" and "Lost Highway" was tight, and his solo guitar and vocal turn on the blues-rocking "Homebound Train," from 1988's "New Jersey" CD, was solid.

As they worked their way through other radio favorites, including such newer tracks as 2005's "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and last year's "We Weren't Born to Follow," the pair were backed by Bon Jovi co-founders David Bryan on keyboards and Tico Torres on drums, as well as a second guitarist and bassist.

"We Got It Going On," from the country-flavored "Lost Highway" album of 2007, was fun and funky, with Bon Jovi pacing a runway behind the stage to wave at fans who watched his rear end most of the night.

"Baby, I know what I do for a living, and I do it well," the singer said during one of the show's centerpieces, an extended version of the hip-shaking 1988 pop-rocker "Bad Medicine."

Bon Jovi got serious in spots, telling the crowd, "We need to create more of a 'we decade' instead of a 'me decade," during 2009's "When We Were Beautiful," which he said was written as America entered it economic downturn.

Earlier, the video screens flashed images of President Obama, Mohandas Gandhi, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali during the inspirational "We Weren't Born to Follow."

The concert could have been a few songs shorter. An acoustic set that brought the band to another runway closer to fans in front of the arena ran one song too long, though it included an enjoyable curveball, Jon Bon Jovi's take on the folksy "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.

Give the band credit for including newer songs in its set, but "Love's the Only Rule" and the current single, "Superman (Tonight)," are not the strongest of that material.

But 90 percent of the fans stayed until the concert's final beat, not wanting to miss an encore that included the classics "Wanted Dead or Alive" and, of course, "Livin' on a Prayer."

Bon Jovi, beaming at his fans with a look that said, "This is more for you than for me, because I've sung these songs a million times," let the crowd sing large portions of each tune.

The band showed the savvy that has helped it fill arenas for a quarter-century by hiring the younger-skewing Dashboard Confessional as its opener.

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I am and always have been a Bon Jovi fan. This blog is just my obsession taken a step further, my imagination in high gear if you will. I love to read and decided to see what would happen when I took that love of the written word and ramped it up a bit.

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