Ottawa Show Review
Timeless hits real Bon Jovi crowd-pleasers
By IAN NATHANSON, Ottawa Sun
SPENDING one wild night with a newly anointed honorary doctor of humanities is an experience, to say the least.
Oh, you were expecting rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi to be performing stuck in some stuffy suit, like what he and the rest of his Bon Jovi bandmates wear in the booklet of his latest double-platinum-selling CD Crush?
A day before last night's sold-out Corel Centre show, the 39-year-old singer/movie star did adorn a formal black cap and gown as keynote speaker at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., where he received the aforementioned honorary degree.
In his address on Wednesday, Bon Jovi told Monmouth graduates his band wasn't supposed to be the big success story: "Ask any critic. We weren't from New York. We weren't from L.A. I didn't live the cliche rock 'n' roll lifestyles that legends were made of."
Yet he advised the grads to make a fuss and get noticed: "I've been to the top and I've been written off more than once, but I'm still here. Nothing is more important as passion. No matter what you do in life, be passionate."
So now that the New Jersey native has this grown-up degree, what do his bandmates now call him? Dr. Jon?
"Man, there is only ONE Dr. John," drummer Tico Torres laughed backstage before the two-hour rock spectacle, referring to the legendary Dr. John, a.k.a. Mac Rebennack. "Nah, he's still J.B. to us."
If fellow New Jersey darling Bruce Springsteen is the voice for the working everyman, J.B., guitarist Richie Sambora, bassist Hugh MacDonald, keyboardist David Bryan and Torres are heroes for the Joe High School Average set.
When J.B. yelled out in all his blazin' brown acid-wash jean glory, "I'm lookin' for some faithful out there," audience passion was in large supply.
You'd have been hard-pressed to find anyone among the 12,000 all-ages faithful who wasn't up out of his or her seat singing along to monster hits You Give Love A Bad Name, Livin' On A Prayer, Bad Medicine and encore number Wanted Dead or Alive.
The tough guy frontman also showed his sensitive side as a big kid with wild extra-curricular dreams in newer fare such as I Got The Girl and Someday I'll Be Saturday Night. Said fantasies were ultimately realized when the showman picked up a front-row blonde to dance with him while crooning the bring-out-the-Bics, could-slow-dance-all-night hit Bed of Roses.
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