Rolling Stone article
|Bon Jovi Launch Summerfest With Two-Hour Career-Spanning Set
“I smell trouble in the air, baby,” announced Jon Bon Jovi just two songs into his namesake band’s 130-minute performance at Milwaukee’s Summerfest on Thursday. “Trouble with a capitol T.”
But playing a to a packed Marcus Amphitheater (capacity: 23,000) on the opening night of Summerfest — an 11-day festival that features 700-plus bands performing on 11 stages — Bon Jovi and Co. caused about as much trouble as Rod and Todd Flanders combined. It’s hard for the New Jersey quartet to shake their good-guy sincerity, and why should they? Bon Jovi, for one, sounded like a hopeless romantic, singing: “You were born to be my baby”; “I won’t lie to you”; “God, it’s good to see you smile.”
This common touch goes a long way to explaining the band’s enduring appeal. Of course, having been around for 26 years, the group has made certain concessions to time. Bon Jovi, still fighting trim at 47, can no longer hit the same high notes he did in the group’s heyday and blocked in time for a needed breather midway through the lengthy set, allowing Sambora to take the raspy lead on “I’ll Be There For You.”
Bon Jovi walked the stage at a casual pace, occasionally swiveling his derriere to-and-fro (eliciting countless shrieks) or sparring with unseen enemies, throwing a series of left hand jabs. The one time he ventured into the crowd he seemed to regret it instantly. “Ladies, I ain’t scratch and sniff,” he cracked, ambling back onstage. “I’m getting too old for this shit.”
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