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Bon Jovi Can Still Rock the House 13 April 2003
The band shows great energy and camaraderie in its Staples show.

Source: The Orange County Register

Gazing at a near-capacity Staples Center crowd, Jon Bon Jovi marveled, "This is the first time we've played here. I like the place. My friends told me it sounds like (garbage), but it's good once you fill it up."

Packing large venues is still Bon Jovi's specialty. Years after hair metal's demise, the band shows few signs of slowing down. It continues to rock with a fervor and exuberance akin to the old days.

Back in the '80s, Bon Jovi was textbook "arena rock," with melodic anthems that begged to be chanted by thousands at top volume. The group's "Slippery When Wet" and "New Jersey" albums sold by the multi-platinum caseload.

After a fallow period in the late '90s, Bon Jovi came back in a big way with 2000's successful "Crush" disc and single "It's My Life." So far, "Bounce," the follow-up, hasn't measured up on a commercial (it barely reached gold status here) or artistic (cynics: Stop laughing) level. The Sept. 11-inspired tunes seem labored, while Richie Sambora's guitar work veers toward the lumbering side.

Taking a cue from the latest album's artwork, three large satellite dishes filled the stage and served as makeshift projection screens. Bon Jovi launched the two-hour 22-song set with a murky "Bounce."

Clad in black leather shirt and velvet pants, Jon Bon Jovi, 41, looked every bit the sex symbol. "This show will be the best aerobic workout you have all year," he said. Indeed. There was plenty of pogoing on and off stage.

A rich group harmony vocal started "You Give Love a Bad Name," the first of five selections from "Slippery When Wet." Propelled by Tico Torres' thunderous drums and a spirited sing-along, it was an adrenaline rush.


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