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

Review: Bon Jovi - Air Canada Centre, Toronto 2-14-11

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bon Jovi gives romantic and rockin' performance

No real surprise but even Bon Jovi had Valentine's Day on the brain Monday night as the New Jersey rock veterans kicked off the first of two back-to-back shows at the Air Canada Centre.

"I'm looking for love tonight? Are you with me?" asked the band's still boyish frontman Jon Bon Jovi, 48, clad in tight black denim pants and a black leather shirt just minutes into the two-and-a-half-hour show.

Judging from the number of screaming, excited females in the crowd, I'm guessing the answer would be an overwhelming yes?

"Bon Jovi is like Viagra for women, you know," the singer correctly summed up while getting a "kiss-cam" trained on couples in the audience who were then triggered into locking lips.

"I want to see some smooching going on!" he demanded. "Happy Monday night to you all on Valentine's Day. ....For all you lovers, and soon-to-be-lovers, and somebody-who-meets-somebody at a Bon Jovi concert and becomes lovers."

Bon Jovi, who had the No. 1 tour of 2010 and released a greatest hits package last year, have been recent visitors to Toronto having played two back-to-back shows at the Rogers Centre last July.

The major difference this time was a much more intimate show - if you can call a large, in-the-round stage, a circular catwalk, and an impressive LED screen and several mini screens as a backdrop intimate - with the energetic frontman able to easily move around and work the room.

Back in July, the singer had just torn his calf muscle at a New Jersey show two weeks earlier and was a trooper but a stationary one.

On Monday night, about 150 audience members were also lucky enough to be in a semi-circle of seating that was actually part of the stage while the band - rounded out by guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres as well as current bassist Hugh McDonald and a touring guitarist - played just a few feet in front of them.

"Now brothers and sisters, you ask why I come back to Toronto time and time again," said Bon Jovi, on one of his jaunts to the back of the stage. "Well the truth is I like to hear you scream!"

Oh, the screaming came alright for such hits from the band's 27-year back catalogue as You Give Love A Bad Name, Born To Be My Baby, Lost Highway, It's My Life, Runaway, Who Says You Can't Go Home, Keep The Faith (with Bon Jovi on maracas), Wanted Dead Or Alive, Just Older and, the grandaddy of them all, Livin' On A Prayer.

Sambora got some mic time too, taking over on lead vocals on Lay Your Hands On Me, but it was the frontman with the million dollar smile who clearly had the arena in the palm of his hand.

Covers included Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman - with Bon Jovi at his most flirty - Robert Palmer's Bad Case of Loving You, which became part of the band's own Bad Medicine, and the jazz standard, My Funny Valentine, which featured Bon Jovi at the front of the catwalk crooning away in a red T-shirt while getting red roses thrown at him for that song and the follow-up ballads, the band's own Bed Of Roses, Superman Tonight and I'll Be There For You.

"Like a fine wine, we just keep getting better," said Bon Jovi of the band early in the evening.

He might just be right.

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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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