SBE review from telegraph.co.uk
|New Jersey's Finest Rock the Block
Mock them all you like, but Bon Jovi can rock. Playing their first "club gig" in 10 years - if you can call the 2,000-capacity Shepherd's Bush Empire a "club", not counting fans in 63 countries watching via satellite - Jon Bon Jovi's band of New Jersey veterans rocked so hard that the post-encore screams of their audience could be heard far across Shepherd's Bush Green.
Drummer Tico Torres even had to call for replacement skins after pulverising one drum and sending several drumsticks flying in the direction of his bandmates, such was the physical power of his 90-minute onslaught on hits such as Keep the Faith and Bad Medicine.
His fellow players were no less impressive, not least Bon Jovi himself, whose ecstatic bouts of air punching and strangely Tina Turner-like derriere-shaking were exhausting to watch. All the more invigorating, too, for not being performed in an anonymous aircraft hangar somewhere off the M62.
The "live and intimate" ruse was ostensibly to promote the band's forthcoming album, Bounce, but the singer revealed that he had yearned to play the west London venue since seeing the Rolling Stones bring the house down a few years ago.
While many would scoff at the idea of Bon Jovi trying to emulate such rock-and-roll icons, sceptics would do well to note that, however irredeemably naff the band's image may be, the 16-year-old Livin' on a Prayer remains so memorable that even people who profess not to like it somehow know all the words, and sing along despite themselves when it comes on the radio.
Although no Mick'n'Keef, Jon Bon Jovi and lead guitarist Ritchie Sambora displayed their consistent knack for writing anthemic rock choruses, almost throwing away Livin' on a Prayer and its early counterpart You Give Love a Bad Name just a few songs into their set.
Such confidence would have been irritating in anyone except the personable Bon Jovi, whose liking for bicep-exposing sleeveless T-shirts is not the only thing he has in common with fellow New Jersey rock god Bruce Springsteen.
Strapping on an acoustic guitar, he quietly asked his fans to remember the events of September 11, commenting that world leaders might "think twice before getting out our guns".
Barely an hour later, however, and the reflective guitar hero was in convulsions performing a sweaty encore of Lulu's Shout. When he yelled, "Well, I feel aaaaalright," you could tell he meant it.
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