Bon Jovi: Concert Review: Hit-packed show finds Bon Jovi at top of game

By Mark Jordan

Friday, May 20, 2011

“Lady Gaga,” Jon Bon Jovi scoffed Thursday night before a sold-out crowd at FedExForum. “I remember her grandma, Madonna.”

The lead singer of the eponymous rock band was referencing a just-released Forbes magazine list that ranked the pop newbie as No. 1 on its list of “The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities,” ahead of Oprah, U2, and, at No. 8, a certain New Jersey four-piece.

“What’s been the one constant all these years?” Bon Jovi went on during a breakdown in the song “The More Things Change” off the band’s 2010 greatest hits collection. “You’re looking at it.”

If the boasts don’t convince you, the numbers surely will. Thirty-one years into their career, by Bon Jovi’s own count, the band is at the top of its game. Their 2010 tour was the top grossing of the year, raking in more than $125 million. And their current run looks to match it. With 15,912 people in attendance, not counting the packed suites and skyboxes, Thursday night’s Memphis stop had the highest paid attendance of any event in the seven-year history of FedExForum.

It is easy to see why crowds are flocking to see Bon Jovi. The band put on a crowd-pleasing, hit-packed, visually stunning 2 1/2-hour arena rock show the likes of which is all too rare these days.

To paraphrase the band’s own “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” last night Bon Jovi saw 16,000 faces and rocked them all.

What’s even more impressive is they did it while down a man. Late last month, longtime guitarist Richie Sambora checked out of the tour and checked into rehab. In his absence, former Triumph guitarist Phil Xenidis joined sideman Bobby Bandiera in picking up most of the six-string responsibilities. Whether or not this last-minute reshuffling caused the band to rethink its approach to songs, the show did feel short on the kind of lengthy guitar flights a player of Sambora’s stature surely would have brought. Still, given limited opportunities, Xenidis did distinguish himself, especially on an epic “Bad Medicine” that featured interludes of rock classics “Pretty Woman” and “Shout.” And even Bon Jovi, not known as a picker, delivered a solid solo on the band’s early hit “Runaway.”

The 49-year-old Bon Jovi looked youthful and fit in his sleeveless leather shirt as he careened around the stage, a camera tracking his every move for display on a moving, segmented video display that gave every seat in the house a good look. After a strong first half that included rockers like “Lost Highway,” You Give Love A Bad Name,” and a gospel-infused “Lay Your Hands On Me,” Bon Jovi appeared on a satellite stage that arced out from the main one, sending throngs of women rushing up for a close-up picture as he worked through ballads like “Bed of Roses.”

Much of what followed, including the underwhelming “Have A Nice Day” and “Keep the Faith,” felt like filler leading up to the encore, which closed with “Wanted” and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” on both of which Bon Jovi stepped back and let the audience sing part of the song.

In what was a treat for the Memphis audience, Bon Jovi disappeared midway through the show to allow keyboardist David Bryan, who moonlights as a Broadway composer, to deliver a solo rendition of “Memphis Lives In Me,” one of the songs he wrote for the Tony-award musical “Memphis,” which will launch its first national tour here in October.


Bon Jovi: Some Orlando and other Atlanta Bits

Ok so back to Atlanta.

Prior to the show we met up with a bunch of fans from ATL at the Hard Rock Cafe, Lauri & I were staying at the Beautiful Omni hotel (the band stayed at the Ritz Carlton, thanks for letting the world know Phil X).  Anyway the Omni is connected to CNN Center and therefore connected to Phillips Arena.  So Lauri and I walked to the HRC and figured we'd leave around 6:30 go back to the hotel freshen up and change into Slutty concert clothes.  I kid we weren't slutty.  We weren't even cougar-ish.  So we had appetizers (and drinks) at the HRC and the server comes out and brings out the lettuce wraps with the soy dressing and the oil dressing and in his excitement spills the oil dressing all over my jeans.  I am now the gulf of Mexico, thanks BP.

The Manager comes out a few minutes later and I tell him it's one thing if I spill it on myself but quite another to get it spilled on me, and I'm pissed off.  I tell him I would be more pissed off if I wasn't going back to my hotel to change, he fakes some empathy and buys me a drink (not the kind I was drinking, I was drinking top shelf mai tai's I got crappy bottom shelf mai tai).  If only mother nature could have been so easily appeased.

So as we're leaving he comes back out and tells us about how Bon Jovi the whole band ate at this very HRC in 2008 on the LH tour.  We nod, Lauri tells him she was here the next night, and he tells us, they were all nice and down to Earth, but Jon Bon Jovi drank WHITE ZINFANDEL ON ICE all night.  He couldn't believe it, he was like no one ever asks for wine on ice but Jon Bon Jovi.  I said, I thought he drank Pinot Grigot, that (IMO) crappy Santa Margherita.

There's a bunch of video's with BOR where you can CLEARLY see Jon touch my hand.  The one video I screen capped and now am using as my FB profile picture.  (hey after 25 years I was excited, if you're not that fine I am).

During WSYCGH I was counting the number of "It's Alright's" just to get through the song and David sees me and gives me this WTF? kind of look.  Which I quickly recognize because I see that look often. 

My friend Lauri the next morning as we're in the car says 'It was weird, during WSYCGH Dave looked at me and I swear he mouthed, 'How Many?''

I start cracking up, and explain to her that he saw me counting.

Some of our Atlanta Bon Jovi friends come up to our room and check out our KICK ASS view of Centennial Park.

So we headed back down I-75 at around 8:15 ish in the morning.  It's about an 8 hour drive to Orlando.  My GPS decides we're walking there (in 6 freaking days) and we end up in neighborhoods in Atlanta we shouldn't be in (but some cute bungalow houses).  Finally I fix the GPS (while driving, dumb ass me) and we find ourselves on 675 south.  YES we want to go South.  South is good.

On the road Lauri was driving and I took a little bit of a break so I decided to do dramatic readings of Star Man by Bon Jovi's former security guy.  One thing I noticed is everytime Richie laughed he "cackled".  Is the man a witch (or is it warlock?  He doesn't have Tiger's Blood he has Moose Blood). 

We get there around 4:30 and in the lobby we meet, @LisaLisaM18 & @Gutter_Babe.  I have been texting @blazeofglory2 letting her know where Lauri & I were on the road.  She comes to our room and we chat for a few minutes.

Soon we are on our way to the arena.  We find out seats 1 row off the floor and circle side what would have been Richie's side now Phil X's side (with Hugh don't forget Hugh).

Next to us is the Family section, Jon's parents were there, Matt was there, assorted cousins, etc.  Jon said coming to Florida is like New Jersey but south (no kidding!).  I saw and waved at Obie he gave me that Yeah I'm pretending to know who the fuck you are look.  LMAO.  I know that look cause I do it all the time.  Saw Mike Rew walk by twice he looked pissed both times.

Show was good, not as good as Atlanta, I heard Jon wasn't feeling well Sunday night, and with the families there it put extra pressure on you.  Jon did see Lauri & I doing our Whoa Whoa Whoa wave during I'll Be There For You (we also got a nod of approval from Phil X).

One thing we did see Dave get the stink eye during KTF, I can hear him miss a note on video now, but then all I could do was scream in Lauri's ear HOLY FUCKING STINK EYE.

I took 2 videos, I sing, I paid money for these seats if you want me to video without singing you can buy my ticket otherwise I'm going to sing and dance my fat ass off, and if you don't like it HAVE A NICE DAY.

Prayer was probably the loudest I have ever heard it sung by the crowd.  Jon looked like he was going to cry.  I felt so bad for him.  If you don't think he's hurting....

I also just about wept during Wanted....  God I love that song.  It means so much to me.

These are my pictures.  I'm nice enough to put the pictures un-watermarked and full sized.  Please do not use them without permission, that means you can download them , etc but if you use them on your website don't be an asshole, give me credit for my pictures.  (Does that satisfy you French Bitches and your message board.  Google Translate works both ways honey!)

After the concert we met @kauffrey and chatted outside the arena until traffic broke up.  Lauri and I walked back to the hotel and had some drinks in the bar (blue cheese stuffed olives in a vodka martini for me).

We got up the next morning and it really hit me.  This was it.

(start sarcasm font) I look outside there are people on rooftops in buildings in downtown Orlando, I think awww the world feels sympathy for me and is going to jump off the top of these buildings in a suicidal solidarity with me for no more Bon Jovi shows.  Yet I am slightly creeped out by this and think there must be a better explaination.  (end sarcasm font)

And there is.

Thanks Space Shuttle Endeavor.

Lauri & I drive back to Tampa, we stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, Casino and brand spanking new Hard Rock Cafe.  BUT wait, before you say I want to see the Bon Jovi merchandise there, I will save you a trip THEY DON'T HAVE ANY.  I would have even liked the mis-spelt "Ritchie" Sambora guitar like in Atlanta.  BUT NO.  Nothing, Jack, Squat, Zilcho, Zero.

So ends another fun filled, drama/Imitrex free Bon Jovi road trip.

Bon Jovi: David sang Memphis in Memphis

This is huge news, Jon let David sing something that Jon had no part in writing that wasn't a cover by another band.

Congrats David!  I'm sure it was awesome and that the spit bucket runeth over prior to your singing it.

Videos when they pop up on YouTube.

Thanks to totalconfushun you did great, no one caught you!!


Bon Jovi: Houston, Texas Review

By Pete Vonder Haar
published: Wed., May 18 2011 @ 10:00AM

Photos by Groovehouse
​Bon Jovi
Toyota Center
May 17, 2011

Keep the faith with Bon Jovi and their hordes of Houston fans in our slideshow.

It's no easy feat to emerge relatively unscathed from the ruins of the '80s metal boom. Bon Jovi's more glam-oriented contemporaries can no longer hope to fill the big arenas (though we understand you can catch Whitesnake and Warrant at Coushatta this weekend), and while Jon and the boys certainly exploited the spandex and Aqua Net trappings of that era to their full advantage, you could tell they craved something that eluded their peers: Legitimacy.

Because when you get down the nuts and bolts of it, Bon Jovi's appeal has always rested on their ability to match power chord to cliché. Look at some of those song titles: "The More Things Change?" "Have a Nice Day?" "Keep the Faith?" You wonder sometimes if JBJ eats a lot of fortune cookies.

But what can't be denied is the man's ability to work a crowd. There is a dearth of rock and roll showmen here in the new millennium, but even at 49 years of age, the formerly leonine lead singer pranced, cajoled, and posed his way into the audience's heart at Toyota Center last night.

Put another way, he saw 20,000 faces, and he rocked them all.

​The band came out to an animated opening sequence that looked like TRON as directed by Michael Bay, and they didn't open especially strong. "Lost Highway" is one of those songs that makes people think of the New Jersey band as "Sprinsgteen lite," with its talk of "dashboard Jesuses" and "half a tank of gas." But from there the band kicked into "You Give Love a Bad Name," and the crowd was Jon's from then on.

When we say JBJ is a poser, we mean it in the best possible - literal - way. He's honed his stage presence over three decades of performances into a well-oiled fist pumping, foot stomping machine, and the audience licked it up. To quote another, more flamboyant rock group.

"Born to Be My Baby" was next, followed by another relative clunker, "We Weren't Born to Follow" from their most recent release, the poorly received Circle. The quasi-motivational visuals on the otherwise impressive video system didn't help, as the color palette was obviously meant to remind us of those Obama "Hope" ads. It's cool, because we know JBJ's an Obama guy, Aftermath just wasn't sure Oprah Winfrey belongs in the same stratum as Winston Churchill.

For "Runaway," JBJ said he was taking us back in his time machine to the Summit ("I was there once!"), and we must admit, for those three minutes he could have led 20,000 people burning and looting their way through downtown Houston. Pray he never uses his powers for evil.

​Aftermath has to say, the dude - no, the whole band really - looked pretty great. Compare JBJ to Vince Neil or Jani Lane (not to keep picking on Warrant) or most other 1980s "survivors." Clean living pays off, we guess.

Now they tell us.

The only moment that smacked of fogey-ness was during "The More Things Change," when JBJ derided Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, reminding us all they'd been precede by the likes of Ice-T and Madonna. Surely a rock singer from New Jersey doesn't want to get into a pissing match about who's aping who, does he?

And that's because Aftermath is convinced that what Jon Bon Jovi desperately wants is to lead one of those legendary Springsteenian three-hour plus concert events like his Garden State bro, but it'll never happen because the band's material won't support it, and his audience probably wouldn't stand for it.

​Though we will say this: as accustomed as we've become to suburban Houston crowds bailing on shows at the 9:30 or 10 p.m. mark (See: Heart) to get back to Cinco Ranch or Fairfield or whatever, we only saw a handful of people drifting out before show's end. Give the guy credit for that.

And give the rest of the band credit for another kind of consistency, hair style. Jon cropped his tresses long ago, to be sure, but drummer Tico Torres is now the oldest living soul patch wearer (now that SRV is dead) and keyboardist David Bryan still has that fucking Bo Derek perm. It was all rather...comforting.

Though Aftermath misses spandex sometimes.

The intimate acoustic portion of the show found Jon alone on a walkway that separated his VIP ticketholders from the floor seats. "What Do You Got?," "(You Want To) Make a Memory" and "I'll Be There For You" were all well-received. Especially by the fiftysomething woman who honest-to-god started crying when Jon acknowledged her handmade sign. Wow.

Of course, there was one notable absence. Longtime guitarist Richie Sambora left the tour to enter rehab late last month, though his slack was picked up capably by guitarist Phil X. There was only one mention of the missing Sambora, when JBJ encouraged a singalong during "Wanted: Dead or Alive" that could be "heard in California."

We assumed that's where he's rehabbing, and not because Bon Jovi was making a statement about the Schwarzenegger thing.

​"Livin' on a Prayer" closed out the show, to much delight. Admittedly, Aftermath were never really fans of the band (we may have actually pointed and laughed at a dude wearing a Slippery When Wet T-shirt in high school), but we can't deny his ability to work a crowd or his showmanship. Last night's show was one of those concerts where the crowd was often louder than the band. And in a good way, not that usual Verizon Theater "where are we going after the show?" Houston rudeness.

As for us,...work in some Bruce covers next time and we'll see.

Personal Bias: Our "ironic" appreciation for '80s hair bands never extended to Bon Jovi, sorry to say. It didn't help that our college freshman year roommate stayed up all night one Friday practicing the opening riff to "Wanted: Dead or Alive."

The Crowd: Mostly fortysomethings and above, doing their damndest to stand up for the whole show. Bunions, though.

Overheard In The Crowd: "I love you Jon Bon Jovi!"

Random Notebook Dump: "I'm glad I brought an extra pair of panties to throw on stage during 'Runaway.' Yes...my panties."


Lost Highway
You Give Love a Bad Name
Born to Be My Baby
We Weren't Born to Follow
It's My Life
The More Things Change
We Got It Going On
Bad Medicine/Roadhouse Blues/Shout/Old Time Rock & Roll
Lay Your Hands On Me
What Do You Got?
(You Want To) Make a Memory
I'll Be There For You
Who Says You Can't Go Home
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
In These Arms
Have a Nice Day
Keep the Faith


Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
Wanted: Dead or Alive
Livin' on a Prayer

Bon Jovi: The Forbes Article

I know Forbes readers may not have heard the whole rock band story but I know I have several times, I just wish sometimes Jon wasn't so scripted in his interview responses. Like when he did Larry King I felt like I could have done the interview.  It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before.

Zack O'Malley Greenburg, 05.18.11, 10:00 AM ET

The next time you play Rock Band don't invite Jon Bon Jovi. The 49- year-old singer's wife and kids recently convinced him to give the popular videogame a try. So he picked up the microphone and launched into a rendition of his classic "Wanted Dead or Alive," backed by family on virtual guitars and drums. He never made it through the song.

"I failed--it buzzed me down," Bon Jovi admits over lunch in Manhattan. "So I stood up off the couch and I said, 'All right, goddamn it, press play.' They did it again, I failed again, and I said, 'Everybody's going to bed. That's the end of this. Turn that shit off.'"

Fortunately for Bon Jovi, audiences in real arenas around the world are kinder. His eponymous band took home $125 million over the past 12 months by FORBES' estimates, more than any other music act besides U2--and more than relative whippersnappers Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Kanye West combined. In the past year the band has played 74 gigs in 15 nations, grossing $203 million in ticket sales and $20 million in merchandise; Bon Jovi ranks No. 8 on this year's Celebrity 100.

Surprised? Bon Jovi out-earns younger, glitzier acts thanks to a relatively affluent, aging fan base who turn out to hear the ballads of their youth and see a tightly run touring machine built on decades of experience.

"They're one of the highest-grossing bands every year," says veteran concert promoter Ron Delsener. "Jon is a workaholic, constantly touring, constantly making loads of money."

Whereas Lady Gaga schleps dozens of dancers from town to town and needs 28 trucks to cart her equipment, Bon Jovi typically plays with six people. A dozen trucks carry the gear, including a circular stage and 192 double-sided LED video screens connected with a specially designed motion control system, which allows them to come together to form a screen 13 feet high and 40 feet wide. At arenas like Montreal's 21,500-capacity Bell Center, the in-theround setup lets the band sell up to 5,500 more tickets than a traditional arena stage would. Wherever possible Bon Jovi plays consecutive nights at the same venue to cut back on setup and strike costs. By playing 12 shows in 19 days at London's O2 arena the band saved $300,000.

"It wasn't some conscious decision to be penny-pinching. I think it's just wise to be efficient," says Bon Jovi. "I know big bands where each of them has personal assistants on the road, each of them has a security guard. We don't have a security guard. Take your own friggin' bags!"

On the revenue side the band's U.S. fans sport an average household income of $78,989, slightly higher than the mean for the 350 music groups tracked by research firm NPD's Brand Link database. The economic difference between Bon Jovi's fans and those of, say, Justin Bieber ($71,389) or Metallica ($71,089) is more than enough to cover a pricey special like the Crush Package, which comes with a grab bag of perks and tchotchkes, including souvenir lanyards, autographed lithographs and two front-row seats that you can fold up and take home after the show. The average cost for this VIP treatment is $2,550 per couple; lowend alternatives set you back $450. Bon Jovi sells an average of 600 individual special package tickets per arena show.

Though regular tickets start at $20, these packages push Bon Jovi's average price to $95, about 50% higher than acts like the Dave Matthews Band ($59) and the Black Eyed Peas ($63). Bon Jovi shows have up to 20 different price points, including special packages; on a recent tour AC/DC offered only one.

"Jon is a businessman," says co-manager David Munns. "He knows what it takes to have a great-quality show, but he also knows how to be efficient with money."

Born in 1962 in Perth Amboy, N.J., a rough port town just south of New York City, Bon Jovi decided to be a rock star at age 13 after seeing the Doobie Brothers in Erie, Pa. His break came when he wrote and recorded the song "Runaway." He sent his tape out to record labels but didn't receive any responses. So in 1983 he took his cassette to Long Island's WAPP, a station so new it didn't yet have a receptionist. He banged on the window of the DJ's booth and convinced him to play the song. Within months it hit number 39 on the Billboard charts. "That same cassette that was sitting on every record guy's desk was suddenly getting me phone calls," he says.

Mercury Records signed Bon Jovi that year. He clipped his name from John Francis Bongiovi Jr. and recruited guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan and bassist Alec John Such to form his band. They're still together (minus Such, who left the band in 1994), but it isn't an equal partnership: Bon Jovi keeps the bulk of the earnings, whereas bands like U2 split proceeds evenly.

Slippery When Wet, released in 1986, secured his career. Anthems "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" helped sell 28 million copies of the album worldwide and still get standing ovations. In the two years that followed Bon Jovi played 480 shows around the world and released another album. In 1992 an increasingly ambitious Bon Jovi took the group's business into his own hands, forming Bon Jovi Management with longtime tour manager Paul Korzilius-- and dismissed manager Doc McGhee. "It just got to a point where I said, 'I can't pay you 20% of the gross, and I can't see this vision,'" Bon Jovi says. "My peers wanted to be on the cover of Circus. I wanted to be on the cover of Time."

Since then the band has produced hits like "It's My Life" in 2000 and the country-leaning "Who Says You Can't Go Home" in 2006. Last year the band released Greatest Hits: The Ultimate Collection, which reached number one on Billboard's rock charts. It hasn't been all smooth sailing: In April Bon Jovi confirmed Sambora would be "absent from upcoming shows" after the guitarist reportedly checked himself into a rehab center.

But the tour rolls on, at least for now. "I don't know if I want to be 68 and doing 140 shows in a year," Bon Jovi admits. Even if the crowds--and the profits-- are still there.


Bon Jovi: More on Jon in Houston

Another article on Jon's work yesterday in Houston.

By Allison Wagoner

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Jon Bon Jovi stand with their autographed plates that will be featured on SEARCH's "Wall of China."
​Even though there's a famous APB on him, Jon Bon Jovi met with Mayor Annise Parker yesterday and was not arrested.

Bon Jovi has a concert at Toyota Center tonight, but he came to Houston a day early to do some voluntary community-service work for the President. It was not the type of community service that required shirtless physical labor -- unfortunately -- but more along the lines of clothed community conversations.

President Obama asked the New Jersey rocker to participate in The White House Council for Community Solutions in December of 2010 and since then, he has visited New Orleans, Atlanta, and now Houston. The council is focused on education, youth development and employment on local levels.

Bon Jovi, along with 24 other members, visits neighborhood organizations in order to examine the ways that communities implement change through their youth. The council has been instructed to gather up information from their discussions in each community and meet back in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the information.

"I was the only person from the entertainment business that the President asked to take part in this Council for Community Solutions. The President's directive was simple: Show me organizations that are working and bring back results," Bon Jovi said. "They're very aware that this demographic is going to be in need of jobs and education."

Bon Jovi and Mayor Annise Parker held the youth round table meeting at SEARCH Homeless Services in Midtown. The two sat down with the young adults that SEARCH serves, as well as kids from Goodwill Houston, Community in Schools and Gulf Coast Trades Center.

​Parker reflected on the importance of holding a forum with the young adults helped by SEARCH, and giving them a chance to talk about their situations together as a group.

"As many of you know, I have three kids who came from foster care and tough situations. They don't want to listen to their parents, but they will listen to their peers," Parker half-laughed. "We really need a network of peer-to-peer communication."

Bon Jovi added that he could remember a time earlier in his career when he thought that the youth of America seemed relatively optimistic; but since personally meeting and speaking with a new generation of kids, he has noticed a shift in formative hopefulness.

"I think I've made my own reputation over the last three decades of optimism and the belief in oneself. I'm starting to see now that kids are believing in themselves again and are more inter-dependant on each other than on what their parents did before them," he said.

It seemed like all eyes were on the bronzed, radiant musician as he took time to sign autographs for the kids, as well as some mesmerized adult women, but he remained almost demure about his role in solving the pressing issues that at-risk youth face in the current economic environment.

"Part of who I am is giving back," Bon Jovi said. "We don't need a scientist to create a cure - we can fact-find, we can make a difference, we can implement change."

Bon Jovi: More Jon in Houston (w/Video)

Jon allegedly was not feeling well Sunday night in Orlando and it looks like he's kind of stuffy in this video. His allergies seemed to be bothering him in Atlanta.  And BTW his name is Jon Bon Jovi not Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi is a band (pet peeve).

HOUSTON - Rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi spent the day finding out what Houston's young people hope for their future.

He visited 'SEARCH' which helps homeless youth with a place to stay...

Bon Jovi is part of the President Barack Obama’s Council for Community Solutions.

He's taking part in a "listening tour" in major cities to find out what kids are concerned about.

"The one underlying premise that keeps coming back is information,” Bon Jovi said. They need to know how and who to get help from and then they embrace it.”

Bon Jovi will take the information he's gathered from kids and report back to the White House.

He'll play at Houston’s Toyota Center Tuesday night.


Bon Jovi: 12,000,000 Facebook fans can't be wrong

Bon Jovi just reached 12,000,000 fans on facebook and Jon posted a message.

If you don't have Facebook here it is:

Bon Jovi: Bon Jovi at Amway Center

Not my personal review still working on that putting myself back into myself.  I am exhausted.

When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll icons from New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi obviously isn’t the Boss.

Yet a little of the Bruce Springsteen work ethic was evident in the singer’s generous performance with the band that bears his name on Sunday at Amway Center. Maybe it’s just something in that New Jersey water.

For almost 2-1/2 hours, the band used its loaded six-strings to execute an old-school arena rock showcase. There were some special effects, but the biggest weapon was the guys on stage – and the songs.

“Get up outta your seats!” Bon Jovi commanded after the spirited opener “Lost Highway.” “If you wanna see some magic, get up outta your seats!”

The band made it easy to obey by launching into “You Give Love a Bad Name,” an arena-rock anthem that stands the test of time. It set the tone for a show that rarely stopped to take a breath, much less sit down.

Only Springsteen, and a few others, push toward the three-hour mark in an era when the average flavor-of-the-month heads for the bus after an obligatory 75 minutes.

Bon Jovi approaches its work with too much heart for that.

Yeah, there are cheesy, boiler-plate sentiments at the root of many of these songs, but the hard-charging delivery on Sunday made it work in “We Weren’t Born to Follow,” “Born to Be My Baby” and others.

“I got 20,000 seats in my time machine!” Bon Jovi exclaimed in a very Springsteen-esque way, before launching into his seminal hit “Runaway.”

He might have needed most of them. In addition to a marathon performance, Sunday’s show also featured another rarity: a packed house, including the seats directly behind the massive stage.

One of the band members, of course, didn’t make it.

Richie Sambora isn’t on the tour, after reportedly checking into rehab about a week before the band’s recent set at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. His substitute, session guitarist and ex-Triumph member Phil “Phil X” Xenidis, filled in capably – especially with his frenetic solo in “Bad Medicine.”

Not everything was magic. The ponderous “Work for the Working Man,” for instance, showed that this band is better off leaving the social commentary to others. And a low-energy stretch of ballads, including “Bed of Roses,” lasted too long – unless you were one of the fans next to the runway where the singer performed them on amid the crowd on the floor.

Even some of the rockers – “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” – started to sound the same. Although the lesser songs lacked the killer punch of “Wanted Dead or Alive” or “Livin’ on a Prayer,” there were way more peaks than valleys.

Musically, the band’s core unit – featuring drummer Tico Torres and keyboardist David Bryan — work together as a high-powered, finely tuned machine. And the newcomer on guitar, Xenidis, found a few other moments to shine, offering inventive melodic leads that helped elevate the slower songs.

Behind the band, the music was embellished by special effects on giant video screens that stretched the length of the stage.

“How are we doing so far, ok?” Bon Jovi asked at several points.

Way better than that, dude. When a band works this hard, it gives arena-rock a good name.

Bon Jovi: Bon Jovi sets attendance record at Amway Center

Well, it was obvious there were A LOT of people at Bon Jovi on Sunday at Amway Center, but here’s the proof:

Sunday’s concert set a record for the new arena, with an attendance mark of 16,084. That included, of course, all the fans in the seats behind the stage, with its 360-degree set-up.

Keep reading for the Amway Center’s official press release about the record-setting concert.

There’s no doubt that Bon Jovi made Orlando “Happy Now” with their highly anticipated concert at the Amway Center last night. With the largest concert crowd ever at 16,084, Bon Jovi took its fans on a journey through their nearly three decade career of hits. The Amway Center may be Orlando’s house but last night, it was all Bon Jovi’s.

The Amway Center erupted as the band made their grand entrance and opened the show with “Lost Highway.” The show was an impressive, state-of-the-art stage production which included a 360-degree circle stage that allowed Bon Jovi to play to both the front of the audience, as well as to those behind the stage.

Jon Bon Jovi’s charisma and showmanship and the band’s musical prowess prove why the band secured the top grossing worldwide tour of 2010 according to Pollstar and Billboard magazines; a mark of achievement made for the second time in just three years.

The Bon Jovi concert will remain as an evening marked in Amway Center history where the Orlando community experienced a legendary moment they’ll talk about the rest of their lives.

Bon Jovi: Atlanta Review from the AJC

Any skeptics wondering how Bon Jovi, a band nearly 30 years into its career, could have posted the highest grossing tour of 2010 got their proof Saturday night.

As frontman Jon Bon Jovi has noted, a string of musical fads have exploded and dissolved in three decades, yet the Jersey boys once regarded as a disposable hair band continue to add to their 130 million in worldwide album sales and string of sold out arena dates.

At Philips Arena Saturday, Jon and bandmates Tico Torres and David Bryan, plus Hugh McDonald, the band’s bassist since 1994, and Phil “X” Xenidis, filling in for rehabbing Richie Sambora, proved to nearly 20,000 in the sold-out crowd exactly why Bon Jovi has maintained such a lofty level of success.

They’re an endlessly entertaining, sweat-dripping, hard-working, people-pleasing rock band. And with Aerosmith, Springsteen and The Rolling Stones sidelined at the moment, no veteran act – aside from perhaps U2 – can touch Bon Jovi live.

Opening their 2 ½-hour set with “Lost Highway” and jukebox staple “You Give Love a Bad Name,” the band sounded tight and polished. Jon hardly looks like a guy on the cusp of 50 with his model-handsome appearance, boyish stage demeanor and exhausting stage workout. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll ballerina who might have something in common with Dorian Gray.

And with the absence of Sambora, it appeared he took on more heavy lifting by playing lead electric guitar on a couple of songs, even soloing at the end of “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.”

Speaking of Sambora, let’s address that elephant in the room. Yes, he was missed. Xenidis, whose pedigree includes time with Triumph, Alice Cooper and Daughtry, is indisputably a perfect fill-in, adroitly aping Sambora’s licks in “Born to Be My Baby” and filling in the blanks on “Wanted Dead or Alive,” always a duet of sorts between Jon and his fellow cowboy.

But seeing Bon Jovi without Sambora would be like Aerosmith without Joe Perry or the Stones minus Keith Richards. Fabled guitar/singer teams are reason enough for fans to spend a hundred bucks on a concert ticket, and while Jon is the centerpiece of Bon Jovi, Sambora is a necessary presence for the real magic to occur, especially when the two play off each other onstage.

Opting to tour without him is a direct contradiction of the brotherhood credo endlessly spouted by Bon Jovi, but the oft-troubled guitar hero created a quandary for his bandmates. If they postponed the tour and waited for him, it would have been a logistical nightmare fraught with disappointed fans, many of whom make specific travel arrangements to see the band.

But by doing what they are – and Jon Bon Jovi is an ultimate show-must-go-on-er – the concert seemed a little less…complete.

But for anyone griping that Jon didn’t mention Sambora, aside from telling the crowd, “Let’s send this one out to brother Richie,” before “Livin’ on a Prayer,” the singer didn’t say much at all, period, during this spirited night of singalongs, so there shouldn’t have been any expectation of spotlighting Sambora’s absence.

“I’m not gonna waste a lot of time talkin’. Let’s just get to the sweatin’ part,” he said early in the show, as a way of introducing the punchy “It’s My Life.” That, and several gracious “thank you”’s, fulfilled any talking obligations.

But whether bringing fans back in his “time machine” for the keyboard plinking “Runaway” or cruising through the band’s most recent hit, “We Weren’t Born to Follow,” stocked with Bon Jovi’s usual mellow rebellion and an anthemic chorus tailored for hands-in-the-air singing, Jon sounded robust – a little gravelly at times, but always real.

His visit to the front of a circular ramp corralling those who spent super big bucks on tickets found him murmuring the tender ballad, “(You Want to) Make a Memory” and spreading a bit of cheese with the melodramatic “Bed of Roses,” during which he did his politician stroll around the ramp, shaking hands and kissing a breathless blond.

Before launching into “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which he dedicated to Atlantan Jennifer Nettles, his duet partner on the recorded version whom he jokingly called his “girlfriend,” Jon planted his hands on his hips, surveying the crowd with a satisfied smile.

At Bon Jovi’s level of success, it’s sometimes difficult to still view the band as patron saints of the blue collar set, which makes a song like “Work for the Working Man” ring a little hollow when coming from self-made gazillionaires.

It’s the same problem some might have listening to Springsteen, too.

But, as the band demonstrates through their philanthropic efforts and with Jon’s involvement in causes such as this, there is more to them than fluffy hair and a talent for crafting catchy pop-rock tunes.

They are an old-fashioned breed of rock star, and, judging from the superior level of showmanship and musicianship on display this weekend, they might have hit a new peak.

Set list

Lost Highway
You Give Love a Bad Name
Born to Be My Baby
We Weren’t Born to Follow
It’s My Life
Work for the Working Man
We Got it Going On
Bad Medicine/Hot Legs/Shout/Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll
Lay Your Hands on Me
(You Want To) Make a Memory
Bed of Roses
I’ll Be There for You
Who Says You Can’t Go Home
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead/Start Me Up
Blood on Blood
Have a Nice Day
Keep the Faith


When We Were Beautiful
Wanted Dead or Alive
Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night
Livin’ on a Prayer

Bon Jovi: Jon in Houston

Jon is doing his White House Community Solutions thing in Houston.

Third session in Houston on May 16 is one of several with Jon Bon Jovi; Previous sessions have included Atlanta, GA (May 13) and New Orleans (April 29); Upcoming visit to New York City planned for late May

(Washington, DC – Monday, May 16, 2011) - As previously announced by The White House Council for Community Solutions, Council members Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Kempner (CEO of MWW Group) are currently hosting a series of youth listening tours at various community-based organizations across the country. In Houston, TX this Monday, May 16, Jon Bon Jovi will again engage young Americans and community leaders in candid conversations to determine where efforts are most needed.

On Monday, the session will be hosted at SEARCH Homeless Houston and attended by the youth they serve as well as young adults from Goodwill Houston, Community in Schools and Gulf Coast Trades Center. The Houston visit is the third listening session in a series that first began in New Orleans on April 29, 2011 and attended by youth who have been served by local organizations CafĂ© Reconcile, Liberty’s Kitchen, Youth Empowerment Project and Tulane Drop In Center. The second visit occurred on Friday, May 13 in Atlanta at the Goodwill Career Center and attended by Chris Kids and Visions Youth Leadership Academy.


Bon Jovi: Atlanta my Review!!

Well, I am on my little Bon Jovi roadtrip.  Last night was in Atlanta.

 I got a copy of the set list.  :)

I was sitting 6th row in the pit.  Most amazing seats ever, the closest I got ever. 

Here are my thoughts.  Really not all of them but some since I have a 7 hour drive to Orlando to do this all over again:
Tico & Dave & Hugh were solid.
Bobby has his greaser FAUXHAWK going on.  Still. 
Phil X is really good.  He's not Richie and he's not trying to be but he's really good very solid.
Jon was well.  Jon is not 100%.  Jon had a lot of vocal blowouts its really tough on his voice (IMO) to carry the shows for 2 hours +.  (he had some blow outs during Prayer, Bad Name, Runaway)
Not 1 of the 4 new songs off the greatest hits was played last night.
We did get Saturday night which I was happy about because I just feel if you see Bon Jovi on Saturday Night you should get Saturday night

Jon did his little I've been here longer than all these other people speech during either bad medicine or Sleep when I'm dead (I can't remember which one, my brain is fried like a chicken) and we knew we weren't getting The More Things Change.

So Jon comes out on the circle, and we're in that back row on Dave's side.  He comes out, I put my hand out, he touches it, when I pull my arm back I touch his arm with my hand and I get a hand full of Jon Bon Jovi sweat on my hand. 


After 25 years I have his DNA on my person, of course when I was like 13 or so I thought I would have his DNA elsewhere.  But you know he's married and I respect that.

So now he's on the circle and I'm like right behind him, and the only thing preventing me from reaching up and slapping him across the ass is the security guard right in front of me.  I'm sure that when video's start coming in my head will be in the corner of many of them, cause I'm that tall too.  Oh and Jon is not 5'10.  If he's 5'10 I'm 5'4" and wear drywall stilts.  During bed of roses he turned around and slapped our hands except Jon doesn't slap hands he slides his hand against yours.  I call it a hand fuck.  So Jon Bon Jovi "fucked" my hand last night.  When Bed of Roses shows up on You Tube I should see it.  also he's on the circle and I'm just under eye level with his ass.  This should be awkward right?  Nope.  I spent 3 songs looking at his ass (this is what Tico feels like every night).

They got to Wanted during the encore.  Jon sent it to Brother Richie.  We needed to sing his parts loud enough so he could hear it in California.

I started crying.  For me personally Wanted was a let down.  IT IS NOT THE SAME WITHOUT RICHIE.

I don't know if it was just me but the opening for When We Were Beautiful sounded off.

Here are a few pictures, these are mine do not use without my permission.

There's 1200 + of these. 

I'll be back later once we get to Orlando.

Have a great Sunday!

Bon Jovi Widget