NEWARK, NJ—Bon Jovi is touring 25 years after he started out a very promising career, and in 2007 he not only is popular enough in his home state of New Jersey to play 10 nights at “The Rock” but he packed the house and sent everybody home happy.
My Chemical Romance, also a Jersey band, opened, and the arena was never even half-full to see their smoke filled show that unfortunately had some sound issues. The vocals were drowned out and fans were biding their time to see the main attraction. Lead singer Gerard Way does have charisma, but he just never had the sparse crowd’s attention. He had it for a brief moment when he mentioned that he was a fan of Bon Jovi back in third grade!
This show opened up a brand new arena in downtown Newark. The set was the “Lost Highway” bar, and there was a bit of acting as the band wandered into the saloon to the sound of Kurt Johnston’s steel guitar and the title track of their new album. The set was elaborate, complete with full moons and blue skies, and the band was tight.
“After the magnetic lead singer proclaimed that, “I am the Jersey Devil and his is my new house,” he announced his world tour and played a new song called “Summer Time.” That song was well received and then keyboardist David Bryan intro’d “Born To Be My Baby” and the crowd really enjoyed that.
After rotating new and old songs, the band really hit the mark 33 minutes into the show when they went on a tear playing “It’s My Life,” “We Got It Goin’ On,” which included a terrific scratchy guitar solo from Richie Sambora, who looked very refreshed. “Have A Nice Day” followed and the lead guitarist gave the middle finger the first time the chorus was played and the audience loved that. Drummer Tico Torres was exceptionally loud for this tune. Sambora played the double guitar and Jon was high- fiving the crowd.
The band worked a fiddle into some of the songs and it was a good sound. Sambora decided to let the spotlight shine on his singing abilities with the song “These Days” and the song was obviously a way for the guitarist to laugh at himself a bit and move forward. During this song, there is a terrific violin/guitar solo featuring Lorenza Ponce that was hot.
When Torres pulled out the tom toms, he gave a terrific intro to “Blaze Of Glory,” during which Jon really showed off his singing abilities while belting out that tune. “Bad Medicine” may have been the best song of the night and the ladies got to see Jon in a sleeveless shirt showing off his guns. During that song, Jon ran his mic along the strings of Sambora’s guitar and throughout the show, it was evident that the band members were very close after all of these years. Then the front man talked about the “Foundation of the Organization” and he was referring to bassist Hugh McDonald, who happened to be playing the hit song that most people remember from the Animal House movie, “Shout.”
“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” was the last song and the band headed backstage only to come back and play three encores! The first was “Any Other Day” and the crowd was lukewarm about hearing a new song at that point in the show. The band then played “Blood On Blood,” “Living On A Prayer,” which the band let the audience sing the first verse of and then he capped the night off with what Jon called “The National Anthem” and that was “Wanted Dead or Alive.” It was a show that lasted more than two hours.
This band was fresh and focused. Jon thanked the fans for their 25 years of friendship, and they will soon embark on yet another successful world tour.