EDMONTON - By now, all the good Bon Jovi jokes have been used up.
Or: If a tornado hit, there would be no casualties because all the people who live in trailer parks were at the Bon Jovi concert.
And how about a new one in the wake of Bon Jovi suffering a torn leg muscle while performing last week: It's just a stage he's going through.
OK, he didn't actually fall through the stage. Apparently, his leg just sort gave out towards the end of the first show of the tour in New Jersey. It happens to many 48-year-olds doing much less strenuous or interesting things. Taking out the garbage, say. This old man is rocking.
But at the end of the day -- Thursday night at Commonwealth Stadium, more specifically -- there is no joke. The supernaturally attractive singer proved he is still a masterful showman capable of causing mass spasms of uncontrollable 80s nostalgia from the 40,000 fans in his complete control, whether they liked it or not, and of course they all liked it. You could tell by the mass spasms.
Also, deafening cheers, rousing singalongs and squeals of feminine glee every time the frontman tossed his stadium hair or flashed his stadium grin for the humongo-tron cameras.
Livin' on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, Bad Medicine, Wanted Dead or Alive -- these songs will live forever, much like zombies.
Fitting that as the sun set, the band roared out of the gate with an old one, Blood on Blood, a song about an undying friendship, much like the one that exists between Bon Jovi and its fans since the 80s. Even the new stuff had the pungent aroma of that wonderful decade.
Saving the true crowd-pleasing chart-toppers till later like deadly bullets in its holster of hits, the band deployed several tunes from its new album, The Circle. These included We Weren't Born To Follow, which is a song about rebellion that isn't specific about whom we should be rebelling against, no mention of "the Man."
The video screens showed multiple images of Jon and his hair and his grin, along with the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, J.F.K., Hendrix and even Elvis, whose importance in the history of rebelliousness is arguable.
But that doesn't matter. Almost every Bon Jovi song is a vaguely empowering anthem on topics both worldly and personal, espousing simple, wholesome values.
Most choruses are easy to sing along to. They were all performed full throttle last night, as if each song was last encore of the night. They could've ended the show anywhere, really.
Jon sang like a champ and made a valiant effort on all the rock star moves with his gamey leg. What a trouper.
Richie Sambora, meanwhile, tore of one screaming riff after another. By the fourth song, they were covered in sweat.
Jon did a great job rousing the crowd to frenzied heights of excitement. Early on, he shouted, "This ain't television, baby -- get out of your seats, get out of your seats, get out of your seats!" Obedient fans, we did, only to be rewarded with the first massive hit of the night.
I don't care what you think of Bon Jovi music, hearing 40,000 people sing "shot through the heart and you're to blame, you give love a bad name!" is a stirring experience. Now you'll have that song going through your head all day.
More recent material followed before the next climax of Bon Jovi classics, the night proceeding more of less like lovemaking -- fast, then slow. Hard, then soft. Not necessarily in that order.
Say one thing for these guys: they know how to pace a rock show. Bon Jovi has been at this long enough to make it look easy.
Of course, for all their gifts, at the end of the day, they're still just doing Bon Jovi songs. They are to blame, they give rock a bad name. Kidding! Just another cheap joke.
Opening act Kid Rock seems to be aiming for that mysterious demographical nexus between rednecks and hip-hop fans, a combo that makes as much sense as the African-American Confederate Flag Preservation Society (AACFPS). Weird, but there it is -- and no one owns this peculiar musical genre better than Kid Rock.
Rare is the performer who can pull off mangled versions of Sweet Home Alabama and Everyday People in the space of 10 minutes.
Mr. Rock also warmed up the crowd with a song about a rock 'n' roll Jesus, a song where he mentions wanting to have sex with your wife, and a song that sounded like Can't You See, but wasn't.
He played piano, he played guitar, he played drums, he rapped, he went heavy metal, he went country, he led the crowd in a chant of his own name. How's that for a multi-talented ego?
This guy literally wears lots of hats. None of them are very good, but points for trying. And more points for declaring that all the music heard was made by real musicians.
"This ain't no Britney Spears bull---!" he said. Sad one should even have to mention it these days.
Almost 25 years after his band hit it big, the rock star tells the Star his first responsibility is to his fans
The Jon Bon Jovi who’s playing the Rogers Centre on July 20-21 has learned a lot in the quarter-century he’s been fronting one of the most popular bands in modern musical history.
Or maybe he hasn’t.
“In the early days, I thought I had to be the one who cut the vein open and bled on the stage or the audience wouldn’t come back. I don’t do that anymore.”
But less than a week after telling me that in an interview, he got so carried away during a concert on home turf at the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey that he tore a calf muscle and had to finish the evening in visible pain.
“My first responsibility is to my fans. I never want to disappoint them,” he insists, and so, on July 10, he kept on singing the anthemic “Livin’ on a Prayer,” including its lyric that could define this driven artist’s relationship with his public.
“We’ve got each other and that’s a lot.”
Rock ’n’ roll is an art form built on excess and Bon Jovi’s success has been no exception to that rule.
But he’s never been connected to the worlds of sex and drugs. For him, the music has always been enough.
“I think I realized early on that ‘beat the devil’ wasn’t that great a game to play. That stuff just wasn’t inside me. Heroin never appealed to me.”
That doesn’t mean he didn’t have his own addictions.
“Driving my voice was always my demon, my dark thing, even if it was a product of innocence,” he recalls. “I don’t blame the record companies and the promoters for pushing me. They were taking every opportunity instead of seeking out the best ones.
“They went for ‘get while the getting’s good’ and when you’re 25, you say, ‘That’s cool, man, let’s go for it.’ If I was a victim, I was a willing one.”
Right after they hit it really big in 1986 with their third album, Slippery When Wet, they went on an exhausting world tour where Bon Jovi kept straining his voice to the max every night.
“People would come to see us just to hear if I was going to make it through each show,” he remembers. “You know, just like they’d show up to watch someone really wired on booze or drugs have a total burnout, they came to watch me trash my voice. And I kept doing it.”
Bon Jovi later admitted he received steroid treatment during this period to keep singing every night but denied there was any lasting damage to his vocal chords.
Still, after another brutal world tour in support of 1988’s New Jersey album, he realized some changes had to be made.
“As a kid, you’re out there trying to establish a foundation for your career. You want to do everything you can, be all things to all people and so you just look at your life in the short term.
“But once you stop, pull back and look at what you’ve been doing, you can really scare yourself.”
In Bon Jovi’s case, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley, in 1989. They had four kids and are still a solid couple, a rarity in his business.
He attributes his ultimate stability, as well as that of the other members of the group, to the fact they never betrayed their New Jersey roots.
“It was great that we lived in the shadow of New York City, out there in the burbs. There weren’t any Joneses for us to keep up with it. Getting a lot of stuff didn’t mean anything in my ’hood when you were growing up. Getting to age 18 alive and in one piece meant a lot more.”
He also feels that the circumstances under which Bon Jovi came to fruition aren’t likely to be repeated.
“We were in a time and place that a band could cut their teeth without everybody watching your every move. You could even make a couple of albums without a record company deciding what you had to sing.
“I’m not knocking any artists today, but I just don’t think another band could come along in 2010 with the music business being what it is now and sell 120 million albums or perform to two million people. “
Something else that Bon Jovi feels has helped his stability in the long run is the philanthropic work he’s engaged in for the past decade. His name has been linked with activities for the Special Olympics, the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and many others.
Currently, he’s most heavily involved with the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, rehabilitating a block of 15 homes in that city.
“When you’re a little kid, you see all the bad things in the world and promise you’re going to fix them one day, but then you forget about all it,” he says. “Back when I was 20, it wasn’t the first or even the 10th thing on my mind.
“But when I hit 40, I started looking for something more in my life. Something to believe in. I was raised Catholic, but I have a lot of issues with what’s gone on in that Church. I’m heartbroken by it. The way I was raised was regimented by fear. Eat meat on Friday and you go to hell. What does a kid learn from that?
“You’ve got to find your spirituality wherever you can. I found it in good deeds. The greatest reward I have in my life is putting a roof over someone’s head and handing them the keys when they never thought they’d have a place of their own.”
All of this, however, doesn’t mean that rock ’n’ roll has ceased to be a powerful part of Bon Jovi’s life equation.
“Someone asked me what song we’re opening with on this tour and I told him, ‘We’ve got 70 songs and it could be a different one every night.’ You start with how you feel. Can you hit the big notes that night? Then you go on to what moves you emotionally. How do I feel today? That provides the spark that lights the fire.”
Retirement is a word that isn’t even in the 48-year-old’s vocabulary. He wants to die the way he lived: onstage.
“I think about the last concert we just played in London. We sang 30-some songs, a lot of my heroes were in the audience and we played everything until it hurt.
“Yeah, that’s the way I’d want to leave it.”
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I know this is from a year ago, but it still makes me laugh so I just had to share.
Q&A: Jon Bon Jovi Talks Pushing Himself on Tour
Jon Bon Jovi is on the move. In a phone interview that starts in a van and ends on a boat, Bon Jovi and his band mates are prepping for night 11 of 12 sellouts at London's O2 arena.
It's the midpoint of Bon Jovi's the Circle tour, the latest blockbuster from a band that's found another gear this decade. With "The Circle" album behind it and a new "Greatest Hits" package coming in November, Bon Jovi has already moved more than 1 million tickets on this tour, a pace that makes the Circle a contender for the top tour of the year. While the travails of the concert business are making headlines, Bon Jovi is in the midst of packing stadiums in North America. But before returning to these shores the charismatic front man took time to weigh in with Billboard on pushing himself, his New Jersey bar band roots, and YouTube videos.
Billboard: What separates the Circle tour from the last few tours Bon Jovi have done?
Jon Bon Jovi: You try to push the boundaries of the production, first and foremost. We always have a lot of great give and take between the whole production team. Then, you're always excited to play new songs. With the visuals that accompany some of the old songs, again we tried to push those boundaries wider, broader, bigger. There's interaction between us and that stage. To me the stage is a living, breathing entity in itself, especially the indoor production. I'm just astounded by it, I think they outdid themselves.
So how do you gear yourself up so that your fans get something different?
Case in point, me, Richie [Sambora] and Dave [Bryan] are sitting in the back of a van right now with a keyboard that's on an iPhone trying to hit the 70 song mark just at the O2 alone. So if you're a repeat customer or a tour-to-tour customer, you're going to see us play 70 songs at this stint at the O2. And that's pushing us, as well.
Bon Jovi sells out stadiums in Europe and in the States, but this band has always struck me as an arena-rock band. Is this a preference for you?
We always felt comfortable in that venue. Arenas and stadiums are home to me, not that we can't do it in a club. We can do it anywhere. But the first day of the first tour we were opening for the Scorpions we were always comfortable in arenas.
Speaking of clubs, I saw one of the Madison Square Garden shows on the last tour and, with that production, the show almost had a club feel to it.
You can ask other people that, you have that opinion and I thank you for that, because that's my job. No matter the size of the venue, my job is to make it intimate.
Is the connection this band has with its audience learned or is it something that comes naturally to you?
I think it is engrained in us and certainly in me, I can't speak for other artists. From the time I was a boy, when we were playing in original band bars, places where you play your own stuff, and there were three bands on a night, and you had to reach those people with songs they've never heard. That's how we cut our teeth 30 years ago. I've always known how to do that. I wasn't in cover bands. I quit a cover band when I was 17 years old and I haven't been in one since. I had to get a point across, and I learned how to do it. I just did it from the time I learned how to play the guitar.
Maybe you learn showmanship and the instincts are natural.
It's all little pieces. You learn, you're influenced, you watch, you have experience. It's hard to sum it up into one sound bite. The truth of it is my teeth were cut in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1980.
That must have been a tough audience.
You know, when you're that young and dumb and don't know any better, it's not a tough audience. I gotta tell you, it was a time, and I think you know this living in Nashville, there's a great camaraderie amongst players and musicians and songwriters. How many times have you been to a showcase in Nashville where people are actually listening? They are paying attention. There was a camaraderie back in 1980, '81, '82, '83 back in Asbury, [the scene was] perhaps past its prime, but the sheen hadn't exactly worn off yet. There was still this kind of "who's next, who's the next guy to come out of here?" And the support system was there, and the idea that you could still reach that crazy dream of making a record some day was still alive and well. And we were so young. That had something to do with it. Being 18 years old is a big deal, because you don't have the responsibility of a job and a family and all that stuff yet.
Do you ever get stage fright?
Nooooo. Are you crazy? Who would call 70 songs and have fear? If you saw me right now, I'm sitting on a speed boat, we're gonna fly down the river, have Kid Rock meet us to learn a couple songs on the stage [at the 02], and do 'em tonight. That's not fear. There's nothing to be fearful about. They don't shoot you for it.
Each tour for you guys has topped the last, particularly in the past decade. How does the band keep finding another gear?
I don't know. We have been awfully productive this decade, that's for sure. We're aware of that. Some of it has to do with falling in love with music again as a performer, a writer, a member of a band. Part of it has to do with us pushing ourselves, so your audience knows they're going to get something different every night, something new every time. People want satisfaction, they want guarantees that you're going to come through for them again, that you're not letting up.
Do you care about fans having cameras in the audience and your knowing that everything you do could potentially live forever online?
I went to a fan club kind of get together today and I was talking to them, and that's exactly what I said. There's nothing you can say or do without thinking this can be broadcast right now. I'll give you a case in point where it worked against [us]: I was dying to play these people five new songs that Richie and I wrote for "Greatest Hits," but I said "I can't do it." I knew it would be out now, so I couldn't even get their opinions, I had to wait. But my curiosity was killing me. I wanted to see what they thought of them.
Do you look at YouTube videos of your band?
Yeah, I've seen 'em, sure. We had Bob Geldof jump up with us two nights ago and do "I Don't Like Mondays" because it's the 25th anniversary of Live Aid, and I bet you go right now and put in Bon Jovi/Bob Geldof and you'll get it.
Bon Jovi doesn't let injury hamper concert
Wounded rocker's vocals right on the money for sold out crowd
Whether you're a devoted member of the Bon Jovi fan club or you're more apt to goof on the band, hard rock-lite heartthrobs that they are, you have to give a hard working rocker like Jon Bon Jovi credit where it's due.
The man has always given the impression that he's knocking himself out for the fans when he's standing on the stage fronting the band that is his namesake.
He even powers through painful injuries suffered on the job, like the calf muscle he blew out during Bon Jovi's Friday night gig in his hometown of New Jersey.
That's the sort of thing that's been known to put many a pampered rock star out of commission for a bit of a bed and beauty rest and time to lick the wounds.
Not so for this 48-year-old rocker who brought his band to Saddledome on Wednesday night for a Calgary Stampede gig.
Like Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan said in an interview before the concert: "He's our race horse," and that race horse put on an impressive showing at the Dome in a sold-out gig that went on for a good two-and-a-half hours.
Hitting the stage with Blood on Blood it was clear the singer was working through an injury in that he favoured his strong leg and he wasn't quite as rambunctious as he can be.
He acknowledged as much too, rewriting a line from Blood On Blood as "me, I'm the one-legged singer in a long-haired rock 'n' roll band."
But he didn't let it slow him down -- much. During hit songs like You Give Love A Bad Name, Born To Be My Baby and It's My Life he actually pogoed and broke out a few moves on that one leg, and he didn't look all that silly doing it, either.
In fact, to the many ladies in the audience who came to drool at the guy, he looked fine. Was that a squeal I just heard? Mighty fine, I suppose.
Unlike so many classic rock bands, Bon Jovi is able to push its new tunes on the audience as well, without losing momentum.
That was clear during songs like We Weren't Born To Follow, Work For The Working Man and the band's foray into contemporary country rock, Who Says You Can't Go Home?
A huge part of the show's success was down to the band, who played it loose but with real authority, guitarist Richie Sambora and drummer Tico Torres driving the sound.
As for our wounded hero, his vocals were right on the money, warm, raspy and soulful, and throughout the evening he emitted the charisma of man who had something to prove.
One of the highlights in that proving was a version of the '80s hit Bad Medicine, which incorporated Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman. It brought the roof down.
At press time the encore had begun and Jon limped up to the mic leading his band through an excellent version of Wanted Dead or Alive.
The fans, of course, loved the show, but even Bon Jovi's detractors would be jerks not to admit that the band with the beat-up frontman won the fight on Wednesday night.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
For those of you in and around the Boston area...
Mix 104.1′s Bon Jovi Party
Thursday night, July 15th, Mix 104.1 will host a special Bon Jovi Party at CBS Scene. You could score the ultimate grand prize for any Bon Jovi fan: 2 passes to meet Bon Jovi BACKSTAGE!
Plus, for the 2 hours Mix is there – we’ll blow out tickets to see Bon Jovi every 15 minutes!
So, make sure you are at CBS Scene on Thursday, July 15th from 7pm to 9pm for your chance to meet Bon Jovi!
Opening act was Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. After damn near 40 years, they still play like the E Street Band’s little brothers. Between seven and 18 guys rockin’ out with a horn section. Later in the evening, the band joined Bon Jovi for a song, and Jon credited the group as the reason he was here rockin’ for you. You can’t argue with the staying power, but they’re no John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band — long on style, short on hooks.
Frontman Jon Bon Jovi tore a calf muscle during a hometown show Friday night, but he played the set like he wasn’t worried about aggravating the injury. The two-hour show alternated new material like “When We Were Beautiful” with hits like “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Random highlights included an extended run through “Bad Medicine,” in which Jon worked the front row, and an excited superfan threw a lip-lock on the singer. Seemingly in response, a blushing Bon Jovi led the group into a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” before returning to “Medicine.”
The show was skimpy on the first two albums, when the band was positioning itself as edgy bad boys to compete with Motley Crue and Ratt, but “Runaway” made the set list. If there was a big song you wanted to hear, they probably played it. Guitarist Richie Sambora sang lead vocals on “Lay Your Hands on Me.” Talented guy, Sambora — he can still shred like hell when it’s called for.
Late in the set, JBJ dedicated “Working for the Working Man” to the unemployed DHL workers of Wilmington Ohio and Clevelanders hit hard by the recession. The singer gave a brief but sincere sounding pep talk about the tough times, which have even put a dent in the gazillionaire’s wallet: the arena football team he owned part of, the Philadelphia Soul, shut down in 2009 (but is due to return in 2011).
After 28 years, the group has learned to keep cheap rock theatrics to a minimum: no solos, no four-encore extended set closing. The band saved “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on the Prayer” for the single encore, and ended the night with an ever-increasing tally of rocked faces. 15,000 people singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” is awesome — and, as Jon said, keeps them coming back. —D.X. Ferris
Bon Jovi brings the house down at SPAC
The band kicked off the concert with “Last Man Standing.” The first of four songs from their new album and tour namesake, “The Circle,” came next with “We Weren’t Born to Follow” before the band launched into the fan favorite “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
Fans remained on their feet and sang the chorus of the latter song for Bon Jovi at one point. The crowd’s excitement and knowledge of every last word appeared to bring great pleasure to the lead singer, who flashed his trademark grin and proceeded to offer the crowd multiple opportunities to sing along the rest of the night.
The band mixed up the hits from their various albums, playing “Whole Lot of Leavin’,” “Born to Be My Baby,” “Superman Tonight” and “Lost Highway” before Jon led a “Happy Birthday” sing-a-long to lead guitarist Richie Sambora.
Jon then took a few minutes to acknowledge his injury and display his good sense of humor when he told the crowd, “Now I know once and for all I’ll never make it to ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ ”
The jokes didn’t stop there. He made another one later in the evening, at Sambora’s expense, referring to the late 1980s, a time when Sambora was dating Cher, who Jon said “was only like 60 then.”
“It’s My Life” had the crowd singing along again, followed up with “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” and “We Got it Going On.”
Another fan favorite, “Bad Medicine,” had the crowd amped up and singing every lyric right along with the band. During the song, guitarist Bobby Bandiera changed the tune, leading the entire band in a cover of “Pretty Woman,” sharing the mic and center stage with Jon before finishing out the song’s final few bars.
Jon left the stage, turning singing duties over to Sambora for “Lay Your Hands On Me,” getting a favorable response from the crowd. He returned for “Make a Memory,” “I’ll Be There For You” and “When We Were Beautiful,” the third track from “The Circle.”
The group went way back to 1984’s debut album, “Bon Jovi,” to perform “Runaway,” the song that kick-started their career, before returning to the current album with “Work for the Working Man.” They closed their set with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “Keep The Faith.”
Two hours after they started, the band said goodnight but returned to the stage for a two-song encore. Jon, who throughout the night allowed the crowd to sing by themselves whole sections of songs, gave the crowd one more shot with the first verse of “Wanted.” Sambora took over for the second verse with Jon finishing up the song.
The crowd couldn’t get enough and cheered loudly as the band launched into their most identifiable song, “Livin’ On A Prayer” from their album “Slippery When Wet” to close out the concert. No songs from the albums “7800° Fahrenheit,” “These Days,” or “Bounce” made it into this set list, something that changes with each concert. Also missing were the unique stage setup and numerous video screens fans have been seeing in their stadium and arena shows. Neither made a difference to the SPAC crowd, who enjoyed Bon Jovi performing the way they have always done best — up close and personal.
As the band took their final bow at 11:25 p.m., the screaming, clapping and whistling continued, and it lasted even after the band left the stage and the lights came up. The crowd wanted more. It was to no avail as the road crew began tearing down the stage, sending fans on their way while pondering something Jon said earlier in the night: “We gotta come back here more often.”
A truer statement has never been made. Live Nation, please make it happen.
In just about an hour from now, tune in to WPLJ...
about 18 hours ago via web
Monday, July 12, 2010
GLOBAL ICONS BON JOVI RETURN TO BRAZIL!
CONCERT IN SAO PAULO SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 6 AT MORUMBI STADIUM
Bon Jovi have established themselves as one of the world's most dynamic live rock acts, While other artists of their generation slow down, the New Jersey natives are hitting their peak. They are ranked as Billboard's #1 top-selling tour of 2008 worldwide, and have recently released the album The Circle, which debuted at #1 around the world.
With over 120 million albums sold, countless awards and stellar stadium shows year after year, Bon Jovi have little more to conquer. The band has performed more than 2,600 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Bon Jovi are at their best when they are on the move and that is truer now than ever before.
The Circle Tour is brought to Brazil by TIME FOR FUN. Exclusive presales for Credicard, Citibank and Diners clients between July 19th and July 25th via the internet (www.ticketsforfun.com.br), phone # 4003-0696, official box offices and other retail outlets around the Country. Sales for public in general start on July 26th at the same retail outlets. Information about the tour and tickets sales will be released soon.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Made in America
Nineteen fifty nine
Born down by the factories
Cross the Jersey City line
Raised on radio
Just a jukebox kid
I was alright
Just a small town homeboy
With big time dreams
Following his conscience
In a world full of extremes
Fresh outta high school
I was alright
Blinded by my vision
There was just no turning back
Like a runaway train
Life was steaming down the track
You said I'd never make it out
But I kept on hanging on
Every night I prayed to Jesus
And held my head up strong
I was alright
I landed on my feet
Made in America
I was brought up on the street
My old man's independence
Seemed good enough for me
I was made in America
Made in America ...