I may not be a Bon Jovi superfan, but we go back, way back. We are talking late 80s summers in Switzerland where I worked in the summer, walking to the nearest train station on my days off to go to Zurich with my trusty walkman. Back when cassette tapes were the media of choice and you had pick what tapes you wanted to listen to and make sure you had ample supplies of AA batteries to power your walkman. The last summer I spend there 3 cassettes were my staples: John Cougar’s “Lonesome Jubilee”, Madonna’s “True Blue” and “Slippery When Wet” by Bon Jovi. Fast forward almost 40 years and for the first time I found myself about to see them live.
Bon Jovi has been picking small bands as openers and last night’s choice was Anything But Human from Texas. Their 20 minute set was solid and they were clearly stoked to be performing to a large crowd.During the changeover the screen displayed trivia from the band and Jon Bon Jovi’s career (I failed miserably BTW). As the lights dimmed and a short light show brought the band on state, the crowd got on their feet and welcomed them. They started with the title song from their 2020 album “Limitless” and through the night blended new materials with the hits that built the legend this band has become. And Jon Bon Jovi is not afraid to use that status to speak out on issues in a subtle way. “American Reckoning” references George Floyd.
But most fans were clearly there for the hits, and they got their fair share and then some. For me the song I wanted to hear was “Wanted Dead or Alive”. I’ve read a review and heard a couple of comments about Jon’s vocal performance last night. Here’s the thing, we are all getting older and for the vast majority of the fans it did not matter one bit, our ears have gotten older as well (heck I wear big cans for hearing protection thanks to some tinnitus). They had a great time. And the steelhorse I ride home is not a Haley but a sedan. And I was humming that song on the way home, feeling as much Cowboy as I did decades ago wandering the Swiss mountains.
Set List: Limitless / The Radio Saved My Life Tonight / You Give Love a Bad Name / We Weren’t Born to Follow / It’s My Life / Just Older / Born to Be My Baby / Beautiful Drug / Let It Rain / Keep the Faith / American Reckoning (Acoustic) / We Don’t Run (Acoustic, band introductions) / Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night (Acoustic) / Who Says You Can’t Go Home / Lost Highway / Wanted Dead or Alive / Do What You Can / This House Is Not for Sale / Have a Nice Day / Livin’ on a Prayer
Encore: Love’s the Only Rule / Bad Medicine