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Bon Jovi Loses Some 'Bounce' 11 March 2003
Article from Washington Times

Source: Washington Times

Go ahead, jeer Bon Jovi if you must. Despite, or maybe because of, my New Jersey roots, I rather enjoy the pastime myself.

But who could argue with an MCI Center full of adulatory fans Sunday night, belting out Bon Jovi's hits with the kind of nostalgic ardor usually reserved for bands that survived the 1960s, not the '80s?

Bon Jovi may lack the gravitas of '80s contemporaries such as U2 and REM, but they lack the pretentiousness, too. And they seldom, if ever, verbally abuse flight attendants.

The New Jersey natives have tapped into a sizable audience that, in addition to buying nearly 100 million of their albums, has kept the band alive long past the sell-by date of '80s hair bands.

Mind you, this not insignificant audience seems to have slept through the 1990s and that decade's testy reaction to antiseptic production and lite-metal power ballads, but Bon Jovi's appeal is nothing to sneeze at: They're a helluva lot of fun.

When it comes to pop music, fun is serious business, and Bon Jovi goes about it with a work ethic worthy of their blue collar Jersey roots. They play well, too, especially guitarist Richie Sambora. His flashy style fell out of fashion in the '80s, but it's still a treat to watch.

Now, it's true that the anthemic hits "Runaway," "You Give Love A Bad Name," "Livin' on a Prayer," "Raise Your Hand" and "Bad Medicine" were already cheesy when first released.

But only the highest of highbrow sticks-in-the-mud could resist singing along. Pleasure is pleasure, guilty or otherwise.

"Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Wild in the Streets," both from the 1986 smash album "Slippery When Wet," actually sound pretty good in their own right today, even outside the forgiving context of nostalgia.

Another thing Bon Jovi is unapologetic about is elephantine arena-rock spectacle. Behind the band were three makeshift high-power satellite dishes the theme for the artwork of their latest album, "Bounce" that doubled as video screens.

And, periodically, roadies would usher a pack of young fans into little pens on either wing of the stage, where they could bask in Jon Bon Jovi's million-dollar smiles and high-five his outstretched hands.

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Related URL: http://washingtontimes.com/entertainment/20030311-63645264.htm

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