Chicago Tribune article
|Bon Jovi plays to the crowd at United Center
"Oh, it's 1986 again!" screamed Jon Bon Jovi on Saturday as his namesake band performed the first show of a three-night stand at United Center. In some ways, the remark rang true. The singer's hair was feathered, keyboards drowned out guitars and everyone in the packed crowd seemed to know the words to the MTV smash "Livin' on a Prayer."
But much has changed since the pop-rock band's heyday. Frontman Bon Jovi is starting to get old. He now enters the stage by walking up steps rather than magically appearing from underneath the floor. His hair is dyed. He handed guitarist Richie Sambora lead-vocal duties on "I'll Be There for You" so he could take a breather. He couldn't reach the high notes of his youth and so bypassed falsetto parts in songs such as "Runaway." And Bon Jovi stacked the 140-minute set with ballads that provided plenty of opportunity for him to slow the pace and vogue for the cameras.
Whether dancing cheek-to-cheek with a female fan, emerging amid awe-struck admirers in Section 122 to croon love songs, or tenderly kissing a woman's hand, Bon Jovi proved more Las Vegas showman than rock star. Riddled with cliche sentiments and predictable moves, his band's act remains impossibly cheesy and hopelessly exaggerated. Yet the overreaching sincerity and good-guy demeanor are designed with the audience in mind and, accordingly, succeeded as PG-rated entertainment.
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