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Bon Jovi's good-time pop-rock does the job 23 March 2008
Minneapolis Star Tribune article

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Seeing Bon Jovi two nights after witnessing Bruce Springsteen is like seeing Justin Timberlake live after watching a Michael Jackson 1988 concert DVD, like seeing Kobe Bryant win three NBA titles after watching highlights of Michael Jordan capturing six championships or seeing a Cameron Diaz double feature after attending a Julia Roberts film festival.

In other words, no matter how great Bon Jovi was Tuesday night at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, it couldn't measure up to Springsteen's performance there Sunday.

To be sure, it was a very good, crowd-thrilling Bon Jovi concert. And Bon Jovi/Springsteen is apples/oranges, even though they are both huge rockers from New Jersey. The couple next to me pretty much summed it up: He liked the Boss and she didn't, but she loved Bon Jovi and he dug it, too. "Anybody could walk in and enjoy this," he said, "but I don't think anybody could just walk in and enjoy Springsteen."

While Springsteen can be jubilant, his music is more pensive and purposeful. Bon Jovi is just good-time populism. It's not about art, politics or any kind of commentary. In fact, most of the group's songs at Xcel had more in common with the pop of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons (cranked loud) than the rock of Springsteen and the E Street Band. Bon Jovi sings simple songs of love and faith, dressed up in different sounds (hair metal, blue-eyed R&B, Boardwalk pop, faux cowboy). The 2-hour concert (which will be repeated tonight) was mindlessly appealing, perfect ear candy for sing-alongs and arm-waving.


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