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Published:December 1st, 2005 08:28 EST
Bon Jovi concert review: 'They know how to put on a show'

Bon Jovi concert review: 'They know how to put on a show'

By Maria Grella

If there was doubt in anyone`s mind of why Bon Jovi has continued to have success and longevity in the ever-changing, fickle music industry, they could be put to rest by attending just one of their concerts.

In their Have A Nice Day Tour the guys hit the Big Apple for the first time since 2003. This tour, in support of their album Have A Nice Day, proved that they are still going strong. At Madison Square Garden on Nov. 28 and 29, the Jersey boys brought the crowd to their feet from the first song and kept them there until the last.

Bon Jovi is not only known as working class heroes who help define rock n roll in the 80`s, but they are great performers with heart. In each city Bon Jovi plays in, a local artist is chosen to be the opening act. Anyone with a dream can imagine how wonderful it is to be given such an opportunity; Daniella Cotton was picked to open for this major musical talent at an historical concert arena. She began the music fest singing a couple of bluesy rock songs with catchy hooks. Despite a few raw vocal strains, Daniella Cotton held her own in front of a hungry mob anxiously awaiting the iconic four.

The lights dimmed, an excited buzz encompassed the audience and soon a spotlight shined on the front-man walking up the aisle and onto a platform in the mass of fans. Donning a guitar, and taking the classic rock star stance, Jon Bon Jovi proved they were among the last men standing. Wearing a black leather jacket and black jeans, Jon was reminiscent of a young Elvis, complete with a few moves of his own. It was clear from then on, that the crowd was his.

The only song that seemed to stick out like a sore thumb was Novocaine ". Otherwise, the twenty-three song set list was a wonderful mixture of classics and fresh rock anthems. New songs well received were Have A Nice Day ", Who Says You Can`t Go Home " and Story Of My Life ". Mainstays that got the heart pounding and the feet jumping included: You Give Love A Bad Name, " Born To Be My Baby, " and Bad Medicine. "

Raise Your Hands " evoked thousands of fist pumping in the air, while Livin` On A Prayer " exercised the audience`s vocal aptitudes. To further demonstrate that Bon Jovi doesn`t need to hide behind over-production, he took on two ballads, ( Always " and I`ll Be There For You "), acoustically, both done with such tenderness and heart. The inspiring Someday I`ll Be Saturday Night " was beautiful and the only sad thing about Wanted Dead Or Alive " was that it signified the end.

The band was in top form. Watching Richie Sambora strap on and play the double neck guitar was thrilling. Tico Torres bashing the drums and David Bryan attacking the keyboards clinched the deal. Jon Bon Jovi obviously stole the show, with his strong vocals, high energy performance, and keeping the crowd waiting with bated breath at what`s next. Gone were the high pitched screeches that are fun to listen, more fun to imitate, but a horrendous strain on the voice night after night. Enter the new mature sound of a deeper tone.

It is not often that charisma and charm is translated to thousands of people from a stage. Some music acts are great singers, but pale in the spotlight, while others have phenomenal stage shows, with little talent to back it up. A few have both qualities. But then there are those who are able to impress just by being true to who they are. Today`s music industry is intent on flash; visual effects, large dance numbers, skimpy outfits, any gimmick to pull people in. Jon Bon Jovi captivated the audience, flashing nothing but a smile, soulful singing, and quality music. That`s impressive.

The only criticism to be offered would be to have more interaction with the other band members. Although most of Bon Jovi fans know Tico, David, Richie and Jon, it would have been a good introduction to the new fans. The audience was a healthy mix of young and old, male and female, all races, all with one thing in common: their love for the music of Bon Jovi.

Perhaps it was the hometown nearness that made the guys give an excellent performance, but they put forth an energetic show to rival those of younger bands. At one point, Jon paid homage during Who Says You Can`t Go Home " by changing the lyrics to if it`s a million miles away or just a mile up the river, " drawing prideful screams. Dashing from one end of the stage to another, and going into the audience of their fans, Bon Jovi proved they know how to put on a show.

The final song of the night brought the terrible realization that the concert was over. When the first few chords began, Jon and Richie stood strumming their guitars, with awe and appreciation, as their legions of fans took over and serenaded them with Wanted, Dead Or Alive. " I`ve been everywhere, still I`m standing tall; I`ve seen a million faces, and I`ve rocked them all. " After two hours of solid hard rock anthems, power ballads and a rowdy good time, Bon Jovi went down in a blaze of glory.