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Bon Jovi keeps show fun, intimate 16 January 2006
The Dallas Morning News show review

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Bon Jovi knows how to make an arena show intimate: join the crowd.

On Sunday night, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi began the band's set atop a podium on the floor of the American Airlines Center, belting out "Last Man Standing."

The song mourned the dying art of live rock music. "Keep your pseudo-punk, hip-hop, pop-rock junk and your digital downloads," he sang in his blue-collar rasp, strumming an acoustic guitar.That's coming from a guy who has written some pretty good pop songs. ("You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer" held up well Sunday.) But Mr. Bon Jovi, 43, backed up his words, putting sweat and energy into a fun, lighthearted concert.

He joined his band onstage after the first song, but reappeared on the floor an hour later for two more tunes. He waded through the packed crowd of thirtysomethings, smiling and clasping the hands of screaming female fans.

Onstage, guitarist Richie Sambora provided the fireworks, cranking out squealing metal riffs and quick, efficient guitar solos. Muscular drummer Tico Torres pounded powerfully on his kit, a grin on his face.

The band stuck to its signature mid-tempo, grinding-guitar sound for most of the night, but it showed some flexibility. Mr. Bon Jovi and Mr. Sambora shared a microphone for an acoustic arrangement of "I'll Be There for You," a neat moment spoiled only by a cheesy keyboard solo thats sounded like a synthesized flute.

An acoustic cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" worked better, allowing Mr. Bon Jovi to showcase his expressive tenor, then blossoming as the rest of the band joined in harmony. Those same backing vocals give the band's most resonant songs their power, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear them without wailing guitars crowding them out.


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