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Still Hair and Shoulders Above Their Ilk 11 March 2003
Article from Washington Post

Source: Washington Post

And in the '80s, the Men With Large Hair created pop metal.

And the Fans beheld the pop metal and declared that it was good.

And for three thousand days and three thousand nights the Men With Large Hair bestrode the world, and lo did they unleash enough hair spray to cover 50 hectares of earth with Unscented Super Hold Aqua Net.

But by the early '90s the pop metal did seem as silly as the Duck named Donald.

And all of the Men With Large Hair did vanish.

Except one.

And so it was that on March 9, 2003, Bon Jovi did sell out MCI Center, where the Fans did praise Bon Jovi and did sing "Your love is like bad medicine!" with hearts of joy and jeans of stonewash.

And . . .

All right. Enough of this Bible-speak. Sorry, but there's something about a packed arena at a Bon Jovi concert that just cries out for the language of the Old Testament. Because we're talking about a miracle here, aren't we? Bon Jovi has changed little during its 20-year career, unless you count haircuts -- and even if you count haircuts, we're not talking here about a radical makeover so much as a tasteful trim.

We look heavenward for answers. While pop metal fades deeper into our slightly embarrassed collective memory, Jon Bon Jovi and his four band mates -- guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres and bass player Hugh McDonald -- thrive. The band's eighth album, "Bounce," has sold a respectable 585,000 copies. The group shows up at national events, like the Super Bowl, and on a slow night plays to 17,000, numbers that former peers like Motley Crue, Warrant, Poison, Ratt and Judas Priest could never muster.

Why Bon Jovi? Jon Bon Jovi, now 41, is the obvious place to start. He has almost-pretty looks but a regular-guy persona, plenty of heart and more than enough muscle, a sentimental side and a macho streak. Which means he appeals equally to men and women. It was couples night at MCI; Bon Jovi is one of the great date bands in history, and the group pulls in not just adults who rocked their senior proms to "Livin' on a Prayer" but also kids who couldn't have been out of diapers when that song was released.

The group performed in front of and beneath three enormous satellite dishes, which rotated every once in a while and served as video screens for a series of dialogue-free short films -- with actors and everything -- that dramatized tales told in the group's new songs. The story lines were often hard to follow: A violent drug deal went awry during "Right Side of Wrong," and a kid in what looked like the Gaza Strip tried to communicate with a ham radio during "Hook Me Up." For "Everyday," the band's most direct response to the attacks of 9/11, actors feigned grief at the loss of loved ones. At one point, an elderly man is seen tearfully removing his wedding ring.


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