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Bon Jovi's Passion Still Burns 4 March 2003
Albany concert newspaper review

Source: Times Union

ALBANY -- Jon Bon Jovi is a true believer. Always has been, always will be. Bon Jovi believes all the great hype about rock 'n' roll -- that it can move your feet, save your soul and make everything all right.

He conveys that to his audience like a preacher, and he was offering a sermon to the faithful Monday night at the Pepsi Arena.

Bon Jovi and his eponymous band played a righteous concert that was chock-full of hits and decorated with the spiffiest lighting and lasers this side of the aurora borealis.

What other act can rip through a chart-topping barnburner like "You Give Love A Bad Name" and still be virtually at the beginning of its set?

Killer stuff followed, including "Living on a Prayer," "Runaway," "Blaze of Glory," "It's My Life" and "Always."

Bon Jovi and crew also presented plenty of tunes from their latest album, "Bounce." And the satellite dishes from the album cover were echoed in set pieces that turned around to become video screens.

The title track kicked off the show and "Everyday," "Hook Me Up" and "The Distance" filled up the middle. "Distance" was especially impressive; full of the passion, inspiration and positivity that has always marked the best Bon Jovi material.

It was clear from the big crowd's response that the New Jersey rocker could do no wrong. Fans sang along en masse to "Bad Name," "Prayer" and the churning "Born To Be My Baby."

Guitarist Richie Sambora was featured throughout the show, adding his distinctive, muscular guitar licks to the rockers and lending sweet good taste to the ballads.

Sambora also took a lead vocal on "I'll Be There For You." When he turned the tune over to the crowd they seemed a bit lost at first, but eventually sang along just as they did for his boss.

The show proved bittersweet for keyboardist David Bryan. His father died on Sunday and Bon Jovi dedicated the show to the man "who was there from the start, who loaned us his van and bought us beer when we needed it."

Bryan drew cheers for a long piano cadenza leading into "Right Side of Wrong," also from the new album.


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