Bon Jovi sold out every seat in the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s amphitheater last Sunday night. And if you looked further out beyond those seats, it looked like they must sold every square inch of lawn, too. The crowd was huge.
Who knew that singer Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora – the two exceptional frontmen of Bon Jovi – would still be playing side by side (let alone talking to each other) 27 years later filling stadiums, arenas and our own SPAC with capacity crowds?
Not that Bon Jovi doesn’t deserve that kind of adulation and respect. They absolutely do. Not unlike Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, they have worked hard to deliver that special musical magic year after year and not be pigeonholed as some sort of a nostalgia or classic rock act.
Bon Jovi was one of the key bands that defined the ’80s rock sound with hit songs like “Runaway” (from their self-titled ’83 debut album), “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Bad Medicine,” to name just a few.
The band successfully transitioned into the next decade by updating their sound and appearance (no more big hair) to become once again important players in the ’90s commercial pop-rock scene. A string of hits – “Always,” “Someday I’ll be Saturday Night” and “Keep The Faith” – kept them touring and in the spotlight.
The ’00s brought Bon Jovi another worldwide hit, the rocking anthem “It’s My Life,” and the touring continued.
With a huge smile and an impassioned vocal style, Bon Jovi had the crowd on its feet and dancing in the aisles from the group’s first note. And despite a recent leg injury, Bon Jovi gave it his all throughout the hit-song laden performance. Celebrating his 51st birthday on Sunday, Sambora added back-up vocals when needed, but focused primarily on playing his guitar masterfully, alternating between rhythm chords and screaming leads. The rest of the band churned out their rock-solid foundations for one song after another throughout the entire evening.
All in all, it was a great night for the band and their fans.
Opening the concert were Nippertown’s own hard-workin’, hard-rockin’ heroes Ten Year Vamp and the previously unannounced goth rockers Soraia.
Review and photograghs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
BON JOVI SET LIST
Last Man Standing
We Weren’t Born to Follow
You Give Love a Bad Name
Whole Lot Of Leavin’
Born to Be My Baby
It’s My Life
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
We Got It Goin’ On
Bad Medicine / Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
Lay Your Hands on Me
Make A Memory
I’ll Be There For You
When We Were Beautiful
Work for the Working Man
Who Says You Can’t Go Home
Keep the Faith
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin’ on a Prayer