Bon Jovi at Arena

Bon Jovi on stage at Arena.
Bon Jovi on stage at Arena.
Luke Holwerda

Yes, you heard me right. Try to stifle your laughs -- I'm prepapred for many -- but I can't possibly write this review without confessing that I'm truly a Jovaholic. Seriously, I named my maltipoo "Jovi" to pay homage to the New Jersey rockers. I'm just lucky enough that this is the fourth BJ show I was able to attend; I also covered three of four area Bon Jovi concerts for ye olde East Valley Tribune. Last night's show at Arena was the best of the lot. Truly.

I certainly had the ballerest seats out of any BJ show I ever attended. I seriously thought Jon and I made some major eye contact, but, hey, that could be the beer talking. I also thought the band did an amazing job of bouncing around a span of 10-plus albums, from Slippery When Wet  to the not-so exciting The Circle (songs from their latest disc garnered the most mellow response from the crowd). Call me old school, but I yearn for the hair metal days.

Highlights? I loved that guitarist Richie Sambora changed fedoras throughout the show. And, damn, that Jon Bon Jovi can shake and grind unlike most guys nearing 50. Good gracious!! He is way-hot for someone his age, and his hair is ridiculously beautiful. You don't want to read sentences like that? Don't read reviews of Bon Jovi shows. The band played a variety of tracks spanning 20 years and did it like they were still in their 20s, which was an impressive feat considering they're approaching middle age. But, really, who the hell is counting?

Jon said it best when he announced early on, "We're going to play some old stuff, some new stuff, some borrowed, some blue stuff." And that they did. That perfect mix made for a glorious night -- at least for a superfan like me. They gave us what we wanted, and I appreciate it.

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See below for the band's two-hour-plus set list (minus some of the cheese that went along with it):


"Blood on Blood"

"We Weren't Born to Follow"

"You Give Love a Bad Name"

"Born to Be My Baby"

"Lost Highway"

"When We Were Beautiful"

"Superman Tonight"

"We Got It Going On"

"Bad Medicine"

"It's My Life"

"Stranger in This Town" (Richie Sambora on lead vocals)


"Bed of Roses"

"Something for the Pain"

"Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" (a sloooow jazzed-up version)

"Keep the Faith"

"Work for the Working Man"

"Who Says You Can't Go Home?"

"Love's the Only Rule"


"Thorn in my Side"

"Wanted Dead or Alive"

"Living on a Prayer"

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Bon Jovi at Jobing.Com Arena

Better Than: Watching Metalhead at Martini Ranch perform one of their few Bon Jovi covers and act like they actually care.

Personal Bias: I'm a Bon Jovi super-fan. Seriously. I actually created a custom shirt at Mill Avenue's Brand X Wednesday that says "I heart Bon Jovi" (on the front) and "Philadelphia Soul Sister" (a shout-out to Jon's Philly Arena Football League team) with a guitar pick that reads "rock." This is my favorite Bon Jovi shirt yet and I can't wait to wear it to Philly (my hometown!). I am not making any of this up.

Random Detail: Apparently, guitarist Richie Sambora is very single, according to Jon Bon Jovi. He made sure to point this out when introducing the band halfway through the set. Have at it, ladies. I didn't feel the spark when we chatted two weeks ago.

And One More Random Detail For The Road: Dashboard Confessional opened for Bon Jovi. If you're saying, "WTF?" join the club. While they were entertaining to watch in their full-blown emo-trocity (I half-expected singer Chris Carrabba to weep openly into some tissues), I couldn't help finding this to be an odd pairing, almost like a pregnancy craving of pickles and peanut butter.

Further Listening: Slippery When Wet. Call me old school, but, hot damn, I love that album!!

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