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Bon Jovi at Amway Center 18 May 2011
Orlando Sentinel article

Source: Orlando Sentinel

When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll icons from New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi obviously isn’t the Boss.

Yet a little of the Bruce Springsteen work ethic was evident in the singer’s generous performance with the band that bears his name on Sunday at Amway Center. Maybe it’s just something in that New Jersey water.

For almost 2-1/2 hours, the band used its loaded six-strings to execute an old-school arena rock showcase. There were some special effects, but the biggest weapon was the guys on stage – and the songs.

“Get up outta your seats!” Bon Jovi commanded after the spirited opener “Lost Highway.” “If you wanna see some magic, get up outta your seats!”

The band made it easy to obey by launching into “You Give Love a Bad Name,” an arena-rock anthem that stands the test of time. It set the tone for a show that rarely stopped to take a breath, much less sit down.

Only Springsteen, and a few others, push toward the three-hour mark in an era when the average flavor-of-the-month heads for the bus after an obligatory 75 minutes.

Bon Jovi approaches its work with too much heart for that.

Yeah, there are cheesy, boiler-plate sentiments at the root of many of these songs, but the hard-charging delivery on Sunday made it work in “We Weren’t Born to Follow,” “Born to Be My Baby” and others.

“I got 20,000 seats in my time machine!” Bon Jovi exclaimed in a very Springsteen-esque way, before launching into his seminal hit “Runaway.”

He might have needed most of them. In addition to a marathon performance, Sunday’s show also featured another rarity: a packed house, including the seats directly behind the massive stage.

One of the band members, of course, didn’t make it.


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