BON JOVI was off the chain and delivered a highly impressive killer arena rock concert performing for a little over two hours to a nearly sold out crowd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX on Monday night. This is the second consecutive year they have been on tour in support of their album This House Is Not For Sale released late in 2016 resulting in the band being tighter and sounding stronger and better than ever!
Regardless the genre, music has and will always be an integral part of my life as it is for any musician. It’s not a job, nor a hobby, it’s a passion and these guys displayed tons of it as they lit up the stage radiating good vibes, energy and copious amounts of fun!
A ginormous thank you to the Dallas Police Department for taking extra precaution giving concert goers a reassuring feeling of security. Upon the moment of arrival we immediately noticed the explosive detection canines circling the perimeter of the building outside as well as inside. Fortunately, this is the third time I’ve witnessed the talented BON JOVI perform live with the last concert being a little over a year ago in 2017 with minimal changes to the setlist. One major difference is this years ticket prices are way more affordable than last year. Kudos to the band for making that happen!
Megastar Frontman Jon Bon Jovi, founder of the band he formed in 1983 plays a major role as lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer. The band lineup consists of longtime members David Bryan (keyboards, vocals), Tico Torres (Drums), as well as recently made full-time members Hugh McDonald (bass guitar, vocals), and Phil X (lead guitar, vocals). Longtime collaborators John Shanks (guitar, vocals) and Everett Bradley (percussionist), working with the band for over a decade now, hopped on to join this tour in 2016. Shanks has also produced every album since 2005’s Have a Nice Day.
They had an amazing laser light show primarily in hues of green and purple. What looked like oil wells surrounded the outskirts of the stage that lit up changing colors as they periodically raised and lowered. Obviously, they were filming the concert as two automatic cameras rolled simultaneously on a track directly in front of the stage. There was no LED panel or backdrop needed as seats directly behind the band were filled to capacity. The only noticeable downside was there were no video screens at all allowing fans seated furthest from the stage to have a view of the band. The night was solely about the music and they nailed it!
The hard rock pioneers forged BON JOVI into a household name during their glory days of MTV and radio airplay as the band rose to fame. Having a setlist laced with 21 songs they pumped out a vast array of material. So many tunes from their back catalog, greatest hit compilations and power ballads were performed, they mixed it up nicely.
The group shifted back and forth between albums from the early years of Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, and Keep the Faith along with tracks from Crush, Have a Nice Day, Lost Highway, The Circle, What About Now and the new disc, of course. The band took their places on a darkened stage standing behind a transparent curtain showing an illustration of an old dilapidated two story house (exactly like the album cover).
Then they kickstarted the night with title track “This House Is Not For Sale” my personal favorite off the album followed by “Knockout”. Jon addressed the audience by saying “It’s good to be back and good to see all my friends out there”. He proceeded to walk the stage continuously yelling “Get up! Get up out of your seats! Show me what you’re made of!” as he ripped into “You Give Love A Bad Name” stirring up the crowd leaving the faithful craving for more.
“Whole Lot Of Leavin'”, and “Lost Highway” were next as Jon yelled “Let’s get this party started”! They then blasted off a slew of hits like “Born to Be My Baby” where the audience screamed and gave a thunderous applause, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” where Jon had the entire audience waving their hands in the air. A one-two punch of anthems in “It’s My Life” with Phil X utilizing his talk box and “We Weren’t Born To Follow” with Jon playing acoustic guitar followed.
The irresistibly charismatic Jon sounded great! He really knows how to work the crowd as he magically makes the songs come alive while he struts his stuff back and forth across and around the stage. His personality is as luminous as his smile and his silver hair sparkles beneath the spotlight. The sexy silver fox has unequivocally maintained his good looks with undying stamina constantly interacting with the crowd on numerous sing alongs and encouraging audience participation and the fans willingly obliged.
The band was spot on and the overly energetic Phil X adds rejuvenation to the group while he plowed through guitar riffs flashing his smile. Driving the train along with McDonald was Torres (aka “The Hitman” and one of my all time favorite drummers).
He’s high sticking and heavy hitting and I caught him occasionally twirling a stick. Bryan on the keys is phenomenal and Shanks fits right in as does Bradley, all singing in perfect harmony. The amount of fun and excitement these guys share with the fans and each other on stage is highly contagious and totally overwhelming! It was such a blast!
A well and truly diverse age group showed up in droves to see their beloved band BON JOVI who will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in April. And its crystal clear to see why! Many of the concert goers were much younger than I expected.
It was also apparent the younger generation were more familiar with the recent material rather than some of the older, more popular hits. That just proves BON JOVI has come full circle, moving forward, gaining a new fan base as well as retaining their original fans.
With the momentum going strong and hands raised in the air, stomping his feet Jon sang a good portion of “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” to the audience seated directly behind the band and during “Keep The Faith” he played maracas. In the midst of the song Phil X brought out his Flying V guitar leading into a smoking hot solo where he exhibited some soaring riffs that kicked. The highlight of the night occurred abruptly as Jon walked the floor, climbed up to the lower balcony, and with the entire arena and audience bathed in red lighting, he sang a sweet version of “Amen” and “Bed Of Roses” in the stands and the fans went wild with applause.
When Jon returned to the stage front they burst into “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “Bad Medicine”, and ended with “Wanted Dead Or Alive” with both Jon and Phil playing acoustic guitar. The band departed the stage and the fans went into a complete frenzy demanding more. They would be rewarded with an encore of “Living On A Prayer” with Phil X back on the talk box. With Jon’s encouragement the entire audience sang the chorus line back to him as he beamed with delight. The night was a total blast and nobody wanted to leave when it ended because…Who says you can’t go home!
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: JANICE SPICER