Bon Jovi – Rogers Arena – March 26, 2011
Bon Jovi’s latest tour “Bon Jovi Live 2011”, rocked into Vancouver for a two night stand.
Vancouver and Bon Jovi have long had a special bond, this is where they recorded their breakthrough “Slippery When Wet”, “New Jersey” and post breakup “Keep The Faith” albums, which feature some of their best loved hits.
Much to some of my friends dismay, I’ve been a big fan of Bon Jovi since high school and although some of my musical tastes have changed I’ve held on to a affinity to this band. Perhaps the fact that they have managed to evolve and stay relevant by adapting to the public’s changing moods has kept them from fading into the ‘retro’ catagory. My friends May, Brian and I hadn’t planned on attending but just last week a super discount on behind the stage tickets prompted us to the Jovi Bandwagon and we got tickets for the second night at Rogers Arena. I don’t know why but I’ve never seen them live until this, I wasn’t disappointed.
After a couple of over-anxious cheers due to dim lights in the arena the house lights actually went out and from our behind the stage seats we saw the band assemble on stage behind the giant video screen. As the screen parted the band jumped into action, minus Jon Bon Jovi himself. We could hear his voice but he wasn’t onstage, then we realized he was performing on his own on a mini stage amongst the fans at the opposite end of the arena. What an unexpected treat for the fans who had those seats!
At the end of that song Jon came to the main stage, crossing the floor through the crowd, to
join bandmates Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres, (unofficial member) Hugh McDonald and Bobby Bandiera.
Since this tour is in support of their latest Greatest Hits compilation all of the requisite hits were performed as the band took us on a trip through their catalogue of great songs. (Considering how young they all look and the energy they’re putting out it’s hard to believe they’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years!)
Even though they’ve probably performed these songs endless times over the decades they still make them sound fresh and vibrant and there is very little tinkering with the classics. This is just straight ahead rock & roll and, as the case with some of the more recent singles, a little bit country, and the audience loved it. The crowd energy lulled for some of the lesser known singles but the setlist didn’t allow that to go on for very long as another great hit was always just around the corner.
Huge crowd participation followed the BIG songs, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Bad Medicine” (which featured a great interlude of the Rod Stewart classic, “Hot Legs”), “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “I’ll Be There For You”. The encores of “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” and “Living On A Prayer” really had the crowd in a sing-along mood, nearly overpowering the band at times. It was amazing to see such a cross section of society and ages bonding over a common love…one of the favourite moments doesn’t feature the band but a few small children who seemed so excited to be at the concert and were singing and dancing all night long (or at least until bedtime)
The amazing staging, lighting and monitors were very impressive and built to allow everyone to feel close up and included in the show. A VIP pit was encircled by the stage, risers behind the stage allowed Jon to ‘reach’ that audience and the band even got out from behind their instruments to move out middle of the floor.
We all commented on how the band really connected with the audience, even those of us behind the stage were acknowledged often throughout the evening. The attention to the fans and details might also be a reason why they had the best selling tour of 2010, with this “Live 2011” tour still in the early stages there’s a good chance they’ll have the top 2011 tour too.