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Losing Faith in Bon Jovi 18 April 2003
Concert Review from Reuters

Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Bon Jovi's back into the B-I-G. Not the hair of the '80s, but big sound to go with big, ambitious ideas that unfortunately never jelled and instead just became crowd-pleasing bombast for the group's show Thursday at the Pond.

Singer Jon Bon Jovi is certainly charismatic, with the movie-star smile and plenty of energy, matched by his musical partner, guitarist Richie Sambora, and the rest of the group. But while they rocked hard onstage, they came off as creatively lazy. Why not try some new arrangements or even acoustic versions of predictable rockers?

The New Jersey band has definitely matured and come a long way since it led the parade of neo-metallic pop hair bands in the 1980s. Some of the songs have survived quite well, especially the working-classic anthem "Livin' on a Prayer," the crowd singing the chorus a cappella for the group.

Other booming blasts from that past, such as "Bad Medicine" and the more dated "Runaway," are still on the dopey side, though the packed arena with mostly fans in their late 20s and late 30s were clearly reliving high school and college glory days; there also were many soccer-mom types trying to look like the teasing hotties they might've once been.

The band has moved on over the years and even tries to tackle weighty post-Sept. 11 themes on its latest album, "Bounce," but many of the new songs, like "Undivided," pushed too hard, the lyrics of unity too simplistic. A sincere intro to "The Distance" dedicated the song to servicemen and women overseas in Iraq and was met with cheers.


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