Los Angeles Times review
|Bon Jovi delivers a message at Anaheim's Honda Center
"Get up out of your seats!" Jon Bon Jovi commanded his audience Friday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, where the singer's New Jersey-based, hard-rock band played the first of two weekend shows in advance of a Staples Center concert Thursday.
That type of exhortation is nothing new for Bon Jovi, who's been rousing huge crowds since he and his bandmates found stardom churning out resolute pop-metal anthems like "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" in the mid-1980s. Yet Friday the frontman's standard-issue decree took a less literal, more figurative form.
Bon Jovi's current world tour -- which launched earlier this month in Honolulu and includes a 12-night stand at London's O2 Arena -- comes in support of last year's "The Circle," a self-conscious return to the group's blue-collar roots. And at the Honda, performing on a stage surrounded by high-definition video screens, the band presented itself as an avatar of progressive politics: During the new album's "We Weren't Born to Follow," those screens alternated a series of left-leaning buzzwords -- "change," "resist," "stand up" -- with images of the singer that openly echoed a well-known Barack Obama poster designed by the artist Shepard Fairey.
Later, as the band played "Work for the Working Man," bits of Communist iconography punctuated the simulated sound of a factory floor in full swing. And Bon Jovi introduced "When We Were Beautiful," a U2-ish power ballad from "The Circle," as an emblem of his effort to transition from what he called a "me decade" to a "we decade."
This was an unlikely re-branding attempt from a group whose breakout album was called "Slippery When Wet," and in Anaheim it wasn't always clear how sympathetic the band's audience was to its overhauled message. At least one fan could be heard yelling "No-bama" in response to Bon Jovi's mention of the current economic downturn.
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