Its always a treat when you see a band play a hometown show. It’s extra special when that band reaches mega superstar status. Sayreville’s own Bon Jovi has been one of the biggest acts in the world for the last 30 plus years. They currently are enjoying a mini tour and played back to back sold out shows at the Prudential Center this past weekend. Coming home was a big deal for the band as they prepare for their biggest accolade, a trip to Cleveland for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14th. Of course as the band gets ready for their induction, they want to make sure they are at high point.

Taking the stage this past Saturday at 8:30pm sharp, the band played behind a silhouette for the 1st part of “This House Is Not For Sale.” The song is the title track to their last studio effort and really set the mood for the rest of the evening. Vocalist Jon Bon Jovi still has that swagger and stage presence after 35 years in the business. Jovi is surrounded by original members David Bryan on keyboards, Tico Torres on drums along with Hugh McDonald on bass and Phil X on lead guitar.  For this tour, the band added John Shanks on rhythm guitar and Everett Bradley on percussion. The title track was followed up by “Knockout” which Jovi moved about the stage, jumping around and playfully interacting with Phil X.

Jovi may not have the locks he donned 20 plus years ago, but he still carries that million dollar smile that make the women swoon for him. I would say the audience consisted about  70% percent women. Its great seeing both Torres and Bryan play an integral part in the continued successes of Bon Jovi. Torres continues to be a solid underrated drummer as he pounded the skins with authority throughout the set. Torres shined on “Born to Be my Baby” giving the song a little extra oomph.  Bryan handled the spotlight on “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” and has been working with Jovi since they were in high school together.  “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” really encompassed the entire evening and Jovi had the crowd raising their arms and shaking their hands throughout the song. Even when the song ended, Jovi kept the energy going by still chanting “It’s Alright” and had the crowd following suit.  

The first time I saw Bon Jovi I witnessed Jon Bon Jovi flying across the arena to another stage to sing “Silent Night.” Continuing with the tradition to get closer to his fans, Jovi even got up front and more personal for the fans in Section 8 of the Prudential Center. There was a mini stage set up in rows 4 and 5 that took up the first 2 seats in each row. After the band finished “Keep the Faith” the anticipation built as Jovi took his time walking out as she slapped hands with fans, kissed a few girls an took a few selfies with others. He the proceeded to get on the mini stage and looked around and took in the admiration. He then proceeded to sing the ballad “Amen” which he showed he still has the vocal chops as he belted out the word “Amen” with authority. He stayed there and sang “Bed of Roses” then moved down the row and sang with and to various fans. He grabbed one lucky woman and danced with her or about 30 seconds. He then walked down to the the boards (by the entrance to the floor) and sang to some other fans before he made his way back to the stage to finish the song.

After that highlight, the band closed the set with one of their biggest hits in “Bad Medicine.” The band returned for their encore to surprise everyone when Bryan started to play the keys to the classic “Runaway,” which pleased longtime fans of the band. Of course, the set ended with both staples “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

The show was full of energy led by Jovi. The extra players provided a full lush sound throughout and it looked they were all having a blast up there. This was a perfect sendoff to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.

 

Setlist:

This House is Not For Sale

Knockout

You Give Love a Bad Name

Whole Lot Leavin’

Lost Highway

When We Were Us

Born to be my Baby

Who Says You Can’t Go Home

It’s My Life

We Weren’t Born to Follow

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

We Got it Goin’ On

Keep the Faith

Amen

Bed of Roses

Lay Your Hands on Me

God Bless This Mess

Have a Nice Day

Bad Medicine

 

Encore:

Runaway

Wanted Dead or Alive

Livin’ on a Prayer

Photo Gallery

We would like to thank both Erik Stein and Shaunelle Gowen from Solters PR for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That's when Backstageaxxess.com began. I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here. When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do. My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows: 1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium - Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96 2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) - Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03 3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05 4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89 5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center - Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06 The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.