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LIVE: Bon Jovi and Goo Goo Dolls 23 February 2003
Toronto show review from ChartAttack

Source: ChartAttack

Bon Joviís barely-wavering popularity for these last 20 years is truly something to behold. Playing to packed arenas fairly early in their career to many a female fan in tight jeans with no ass pockets, the band has watched as just about all their '80s arena rock peers have fallen by the wayside, only to find themselves in 2003 playing toÖ packed arenas with many a female fan in tight jeans with no ass pockets (funny how some things have to go away and then come back into style).

Perhaps youíll be glad to hear that the band is not content to settle on past laurels, as they played a half-dozen songs from their latest, Bounce, because the near capacity crowd at the ACC could have scarcely given a toss, clearly adopting a "show us your hits" bent.

And the band willingly obliged, knocking off "Living On A Prayer," "Wild In The Streets" and "You Give Love A Bad Name" early in the set, and later, "Iíll Sleep When Iím Dead" and "Someday Iíll Be Saturday Night." Jon also turned the time machine waay back, circa Diane Lane days even, for a rendition of "Runaway." For a guy whoís been to the edges of the globe and back through rock stardom, Bon Jovi impressively prefaced the song with a vivid recollection of the bandís first Toronto visit to the El Mocambo.

Of the new songs, "The Distance" was the most impressive, characterized by the defiance of much classic rock Ďní roll. On the other hand, the title track sounded so hermetically sealed that it wouldnít have sounded out of place as the background music to an intense training scene in an '80s Stallone or Van Damme flick.

While the band made great use of lights and satellite-dish-shaped video screens, theyíve largely eschewed the bombastic presentation of yesteryear. This stripped-down approach even applies all the way to Mr. Bongiovi himself, who curiously sports a less impressive chest rug these days (perhaps heís researching a role). He was resplendent in a velvety shirt and blue cordurory pants reminiscent of an old Robin Williams line ("So tight you could tell what religion he is"), and provided full value for the fans, dancing up a storm and venturing into the crowd. Although it must be noted that his between-song patter is ripped lock, stock and barrel from his more famous New Jersey counterpart. He even sportingly handed over vocal duties for "Iíll Be There For You" to guitarist Richie Locklear.

While itís hard not to view Bon Jovi as a rock Ďní roll ham-and-egger whose popularity far exceeds his talent level, a throng that much of the time could best be described as rabid would be quick to disagree.


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