Thursday, February 25, 2010
Led by Jon Bon Jovi, who turns 48 on March 2, the Grammy-winning band rocked Jobing.com 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.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
From A&E Interactive Blog, a review of last night's show in San Jose... it's not all favorable, but not horrible either. In my opinion, not a bad review.
By Jim Harrington
No rocker has aged better than Jon Bon Jovi.
That point is to be taken literally, first and foremost, given that the 47-year-old vocalist looked a good 15 years younger as he led his band Bon Jovi in concert at the HP Pavilion on Monday night. He also exhibited a type of sustained energy through his group’s two-hour-plus set in San Jose that would make most performers half his age jealous.
Yet, that comment also works figuratively, in regard to the band’s music. The fans that came out to this stop on Bon Jovi’s newly launched “The Circle” tour – which also touches down on March 2 at Sacramento’s Arco Arena – certainly didn’t act like they were listening to a group that recorded its first hit single (“Runaway”) nearly 30 years ago. Instead, they treated Bon Jovi like it’s still a relevant group, and greeted the new material, off of last year’s “The Circle,” with nearly the same gusto that they showed the old radio favorites.
Just ask Billy Joel, Elton John, KISS or any other act with a career spanning 25-plus years what a rarity that is in the classic-rock world.
This atypical situation is a direct result of Jon Bon Jovi’s unswerving commitment to stay off the nostalgia circuit. That’s not to say fans won’t get a big dose of nostalgia at a Bon Jovi show – that comes in spades, thanks to the inclusion of such oldies as “Livin’ On a Prayer” and “Bad Medicine” – but it’s part of a mix that is more focused on displaying what the band has been up to recently.
What has the band been up to recently? Well, since it’s Bon Jovi we’re talking about, the answer, as always, is plenty. The HP date nicely illustrated the band’s ongoing effort to hone a more mature – some would say, more age-appropriate – country-rock sound. The new material sounds more like something one would hear on a John Mellencamp record than from one of Bon Jovi’s classic ‘80s pop-rock albums, which explains why the group has been able to cultivate a “New Country” audience to go along with its existing classic-rock crowd.
Some might knock the group’s country material – and that’s easy to do, since it can come across like Rascal Flatts on a bad night – but at least Bon Jovi is making an effort to grow as a musical entity.
And, for sure, there is still plenty of room for growth. While a far better outing than the group’s jumbled mess of a show held at the same venue back in April 2008, Monday’s gig did showcase all the things that keep Bon Jovi from being one of the better live acts in the business. The short list would include a shockingly thin song book of memorable tunes, less-than-spectacular musicianship and rather clownish behavior from the lead singer.
That’s just one man’s opinion, mind you, and one probably not shared by the fans that made Bon Jovi’s previous tour, “Lost Highway,” the highest-grossing trek of 2008, or the patrons that filled HP to near capacity on Monday night.
Following a poorly received opening set by indie/emo act Dashboard Confessional – truly the wrong choice to kick start an evening of Bon Jovi – the headliners took the stage and opened the show with a rather weak double-shot of the oldie “Blood on Blood” (from 1988’s “New Jersey”) and the new album’s “We Weren’t Born to Follow.” They did recover nicely, however, with a powerful one-two combination of the classic hits “Bad Name” and “Born to be My Baby.”
The crowd – which spanned a huge age range, from grade-school kids to some senior citizens – was appreciative throughout the set. Whatever musical direction Jon roamed, from the country-tinged anthem “Lost Highway” to the overly sentimental power ballad “When We Were Beautiful,” the fans trailed right along.
Few play to an audience like Jon Bon Jovi does. Yet, he adds so many theatrical flourishes – from hugging his guitar to show his sincerity to holding his outstretched arm into the crowd to, well, show his sincerity – that very little of what he does comes across as sincere. He sings every song like he’s auditioning for a spot on Broadway, and he’s so busy acting the part of the rock star that he often seems to forget what it means to be one. (Jon should watch a tape of his fellow New Jersey native, Bruce Springsteen, if he wants to understand the difference.)
Despite that knock, Jon Bon Jovi is Bon Jovi, at least on the live stage. His fellow band members do very little to draw the focus away from the front man in concert. That’s even true of his best-known sideman, overrated guitarist Richie Sambora, who showed the same degree of depth and versatility with his fret work that his former wife, Heather Locklear, has displayed in her acting career.
All of those negatives, however, can’t outweigh the one main positive: Bon Jovi is one of the few acts that manage to come across as both timely and timeless. It was the latter that seemed most important at the close of the show, as the New Jersey rockers completed “The Circle” with a high-octane encore of “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
In all, the show featured just enough greatest-hits material. Yet, the evening still seemed more about the new songs than the old. That’s a balance that probably every classic-rock act would like to strike. The truth is, however, Bon Jovi is one of the few that can actually pull it off.
Blood on Blood
We Weren’t Born to Follow
Born to be My Baby
When We Were Beautiful
Keep the Faith
We got It Going On
It’s My Life
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
Bed of Roses
Something for the Pain
Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night
Work for the Working Man
Bad Medicine/Bad Case of Loving You (Robert Palmer cover)
Who Says You Can’t Go Home
Love’s the Only Rule
Thorn in My Side
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin’ on a Prayer
Monday, February 22, 2010
Finally, there is a new chapter of Sweet Dreams up!
I apologize for the delay, but everyone in Queenie's castle has been sick as of late; the hub a week ago, me this past week and now Little Man. Hopefully we can rid the castle of the evil germs and get back on track. For now, enjoy the new chapter.
Thanks for reading!