The Oklahoman article
|Bon Jovi maintains world-class status for 2 decades
Bon Jovi fooled us all: Two decades ago, when it was nearly impossible to pass a radio without hearing "You Give Love a Bad Name" or "Livin' on a Prayer," the New Jersey pop-metal band looked like the kind of guys that everyone's little sister would love for two summers, then ditch for someone more mysterious or threatening.
But Bon Jovi would not go away. Most of the "hair bands" that filled spandex pants and stadiums in the wake of Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" success are gone now, as are most of the grunge acts that replaced them on the radio and the teen-pop groups that followed. Bon Jovi outlived them all and can still sell out a basketball arena in just a few hours -- stronger than fashion, impervious to fads and filling the Ford Center on Saturday night.
To hear guitarist Richie Sambora tell the story, Bon Jovi survived and thrived because the group only worked harder once the trend it spawned turned to dust. When Pearl Jam and Nirvana took over rock radio playlists in the United States, Bon Jovi continued to play its populist anthems globally as though Seattle was just a rainy spot on the weather map. They packed stadiums in Europe and Asia, and the crowds never tired of "Wanted Dead or Alive" and happily asked for another dose of "Bad Medicine."
"We've been playing stadiums all over the world outside this country, much like the Rolling Stones and much like U2," said Sambora, speaking during a teleconference call in November. "You know, the great part about this band is ... the camaraderie of what we have together, you know? And I think that, you know, we're a band of brothers, we're out there, we're still doing it. People want to see people stay together -- they want to be entertained by people that are staying together. I mean, we still like each other. It's pretty unbelievable after 22 years."
"We never really lost our following, and we really never became a grunge band," keyboardist David Bryan said. "We became what we were, you know? We just kept evolving what we were -- into a better us."
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