The Independent article
|Bon voyage: The return of Bon Jovi
It's almost 25 years since Bon Jovi shot to fame with their big ballads and even bigger hair. On the eve of their latest sell-out tour, Jon Bon Jovi tells David Usborne why it hasn't all been plain sailing.
If by chance you have tickets for the veteran American rock'n'roll band Bon Jovi, opening the revamped O2 Arena in London's Docklands tomorrow night, you will want to be sure the concert's not cancelled at the last moment. For here is something not entirely reassuring: the lead singer has his doubts. " I have told the promoter that I'll believe it when I see it," Jon Bon Jovi says.
It was 1983 when the boys with tight leather trousers and massive hair first burst on to the pop scene in America and started a blinding streak of success that has lasted longer than some of its younger fans have been out of nappies. But not everyone can be Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, so is Jon Bon Jovi, himself now 45 years old and a father of four, finally admitting that he might be running out of steam?
That's not it. Bon Jovi has no plans to retire, even if the madness that used to possess him to perform and record nearly non-stop – in his time, he has done 240-show tours – has eased these days. Sitting in a studio atop the Viacom building in New York's Times Square with a view westwards so vast it seems to encompass all of his native and beloved New Jersey, he voices scepticism about O2, not because of fatigue, but because of what always seems to happen when they refurbish big venues in London. "Is it going to be ready?"
He hasn't forgotten about June last year, and the two concerts they were booked to do at the new Wembley Stadium. Both had sold out. (The band always fills every seat in the UK, famously drawing 91,000 fans to Hyde Park four summers ago.) But then construction fell behind and Bon Jovi were forced to scratch. Tomorrow is his consolation prize. The O2 Arena may not be as big as Wembley – 22,000 seats instead of more than 70,000 – and for Bon Jovi the bigger the venue the better he likes it. But still, it should be a great night.
Bon Jovi is a nice guy, and smart too. This is what everyone tells you when you are getting ready to meet this icon of American rock, even if he is not quite Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, the man he coyly calls the "other guy from Jersey". And the advertising seems to be true. He is a pal of Al Gore, he can act – you may remember his brief stint on The West Wing – he gives a lot of his money to building homes for the poor and he speaks passionately about the American political scene as well as about what has gone wrong with the music industry.
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