"Bon Jovi by a nose"
|Toronto Concert Review from "Toronto Sun"
Bon Jovi by a nose
By KIERAN GRANT -- Toronto Sun
"Are you sick to death of the sport of politics?!" Jon Bon Jovi said by way of a greeting as he launched into his eponymous bands' concert at the Air Canada Centre last night.
"Have you had it up to here with the politics of sport?!"
What followed was a snappy, snare-laced, rock 'n' roll sermon straight out of the book of Springsteen (Ford Administration vintage). The long and the short of it was that, after a five-year absence from the mega-tour circuit, these New Jersey fellas were back to cleanse our spirits with a "religion we call rock 'n' roll!"
Okay, so that sports-and-politics thing would get a little cloudy a few songs later, during new tune Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars, when the big screens behind the band started flashing scenes of, well, political and sporting events -- and political sporting events -- from the past half-century. (Weren't we in here to forget about that stuff?)
Anyway, Bon Jovi's old-school rock bombast is nothing if not sloppy. Not as in technically sloppy -- far from it, actually -- but sloppy like a well-meaning and well-rehearsed golden retriever out to please its master, which in this case was 15,000 roof-raising, Bic-flicking fans.
The singer's opening testimony, for instance, could have dated back 15 years, but it no doubt echoed what a lot of voters in the crowd must have been thinking, just as polls across the city prepared to close.
Flanked by Bon Jovi's household-name guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan, and bassist Hugh MacDonald, he danced a rubbery line between cartoon rock-deity and been-there, done-that troubadour. After all, the guy can hardly act like the past five years, during which he released a solo album and became a regular in Hollywood movies, didn't happen.
But he was also in touch with the over-the-top Bon Jovi that made him famous in the '80s, streaking through requisite anthems Runaway, You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin' On A Prayer early in the set.
And, if all that hype about the group moving with the times seems a bit "Emperor's New Clothes," it didn't seem to have any effect on last night's performance.
Sure, they appear in suits on the booklet of their new CD, Crush, and the poodle hairstyles have been appropriately toned down (Bryan excluded). But new opening tune One Wild Night and the fist-pumping It's My Life slotted properly alongside the high-gloss pomp-metal of the old hits.
As Jon Bon proved during a drawling, drawn-out monologue later, this band was his theatre before he ever went Hollywood.
Like any flip-through of an old year book, the evening wasn't totally wince-free -- did they really need to accompany the ridiculous Blaze Of Glory with footage from Young Guns II, the film it originally promoted? Young Guns II?
Still, it's clear, even for someone who spent high school trying to avoid this stuff, that Bon Jovi remain resolute in their cause: Being Bon Jovi.
It appears the article won't be available at Toronto Sun web site for long, so the whole article is avilable at drycounty.com - but please follow the link below to see a photo from the concert...
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