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Bon Jovi @ the Pepsi Center 3 April 2008
Denver Post article

Source: Denver Post

Much has been made of Bon Jovi’s recent dip into country-rock on its 10th and latest disc, “Lost Highway.” Perhaps too much.

Every writer likes a hook, so it makes sense that we would want to scribble about the band’s stylistic detours. It makes good fodder for articles, and when an act still sells as many albums as Bon Jovi, it’s legitimate news (”Lost Highway” was the group’s third No. 1 album in the U.S.)

But at a sold-out Pepsi Center show Monday, the members of the New Jersey group sounded like their old arena rock selves, taking the stage with a fistful of worn pop-metal hits from the ’80s and ’90s before digging into “Lost Highway” material.

Even on those new songs, guitarist Richie Sambora shredded solos in his usual purse-lipped way, and Jon Bon Jovi struck characteristic poses that fell somewhere between Elvis and David Lee Roth. A couple extra guitarists and, appropriately, a fiddle player joined longtime members Tico Torres (drums) and David Bryan (keyboards).

The band may have opened with the title track from “Lost Highway,” but it took them another five songs to revisit that album. On the way, they stopped through “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Runaway,” “Raise Your Hands” and “Born to Be My Baby” — that last track sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

Songs like “Blaze of Glory,” which predated “Lost Highway” by 18 years, hinted that the band’s country leanings are less a detour than an evolution. In the light of day, that slide-guitar addled song, originally penned for the “Young Guns II” soundtrack, screams “country crossover.”

For all the flashy video panels and glowing stages, or the half-baked cover segues (”Jumpin” Jack Flash,” “Dancing in the Streets,” “Shout”), the group remains most adept at bombastic, dynamic rock ballads. The random legitimate detour (the nuanced “Miss Fourth of July”) makes “Lost Highway” and the rest of Bon Jovi’s work sound nearly identical.


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