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Jon Bon Jovi and Bandmates Delight 16,000 24 February 2003
Montreal show review from The Gazette

Source: The Gazette / sent by

Delirium greets Bon Jovi

This may ruffle some feathers among the boomer set, but if someone is compiling a list of potential Rolling Stones successors on the nostalgia-rock arena circuit, they might consider 20-year-running pop-metal act Bon Jovi.

The New jersey band led by venerable blow-dried poster-boy Jon Bon Jovi packed the Bell Centre for the third time in two years last night, before an estatic crowd of 16,000-plus fans.

Every seat was full - or at least could have been had anybody wanted to sit. The standing O began before the curtain and lasted throughout most of the night. The deafening screams started immediately.

Bon Jovi's been on a rebound of late. returning to the pop radar in 2000 with the radio-ready album Crush, the band wasted little time before heading back to the studio for last year's Bounce, the title track of which led off the evening.

Front and centre: Mr. Bon Jovi himself, with boyish grin, manly tan and flowing locks intact. Pumping his fist to the simple-yet-effective chorus, "Bounce!"

The result? Delirium, of course. And if the song was helped along by early- show adrenaline, it was heavyweight hit power that propelled the next song, You give love a bad name, off the group's 1986 breaktrough album Slippery when wet.

Bon Jovi had only to sing the opening line, "Shot through the heart," before the entire room joined in for, "and you're to blame!/You give love/a bad name."

It is songs like this that Bon Jovi's staying power is built on. Bulging guitar riffs paired with head-bobbing, shout-along refrain.

Two songs later, another smash: Livin' on a prayer. With more classics peppered through the show (Wanted Dead or alive and the encore-igniter Bad Medicine, to name but two), theframework was in place.

Add some nuts and bolts, from the cheer-eliciting Runaway (off Bon Jovi's very first, pre-world-fame album, Bon Jovi) to the come-together Americana anthem Undivided, off Bounce, and you've got yourself a career-spanning rock show.

It's a very simple formula, and one that works for one main reason: nobody's messing with it. this is no-pretention, hands-in-the-air, party-hard rock, custom made for good times.

That the band still has no shame in closing the night with the familiar cover of Twist n'Shout is proof of its devotion to the fun of its fans. Rock on.

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