Bon Jovi rolled into town last night but only their second stop up there spring 2022 North American tour to what appeared to be a sold-out crowd. In a way you could say this is in support of their latest record released in 2020. Simply titled Bon Jovi 2020. And I must tell you there were a lot of really excited fans there last night. There saw more signs in the audience than I have seen in a long time. It felt like an old school concert in a way.
I’ve been seeing Bon Jovi play live literally since they first came out on the scene back in 1983. The song that captured my attention off their first album was “She Don’t Know Me”. They followed that up with a solid record titled, 7800 degrees Fahrenheit. But when Slippery When Wet was released, that blew the doors off everything and launch them into MTV superstardom. The first indication to me that They were going to be big was when they opened for .38 Special at the Met center in Bloomington, MN. After Bon Jovi’s set, literally 3/4 of the audience left the building and didn’t even stay for the headlining act. At that time .38 Special had a lot of hits on the radio. I felt bad for them that night, I’m guessing that’s when they realized their career was over.
I followed Bon Jovi’s career through the years, and I’ve seen them many times. I’ve always liked the music although a lot of the hair band fans, and the harder edge metal fans seem to kind of poke fun at them for being too soft and poppy. To me that was their brilliance. They were poppy but with a guitar driven edge. They have always had a very loyal following of fans. And that was on display last night in St. Paul. It’s not an accident nor is it easy to build a base of fans like Bon Jovi has over the years. I must give props to Jon Bon Jovi for not forgetting where he came from. Last night he had a very popular local DJ John Lassman in the front row. John currently works for Saint Cloud’s Rockin’ 101. My understanding is, John was the very first DJ in America to play “Runaway” which helped to launch Bon Jovi’s career. All these years later, he still takes care of the people who helped him. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s amazing. if I remember correctly, he even thanked him at the rock and roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
I went with some hesitancy because the last time he was in town for his This Home is Not for Sale tour, quite honestly, I was bored. Some will argue that the magic is gone because Richie Sambora is no longer with the band. I guess there is an argument to be made on both sides of that fence. I for one have absolutely no skin in the game, I just like the music. In 2020 they released a record titled Bon Jovi 2020. Jon even referred to that fact last night and that they didn’t have an opportunity to properly promote it because of the pandemic. You could tell by the way Jon spoke of the album, that he was very proud of the songs. He made it a point to play five of them last night. My buddy Kyle that I went with mentioned he had heard an interview that Jon said, “I’m going to play these songs for me not for the fans”. I have to say I really respect that.
I’ve never been disappointed by hearing new music by artists. if you think about it, they made music at one point that you absolutely loved and you’re a huge fan. So why wouldn’t you want that artist to continue to make new music? How many times do we have to listen to some of those hits, until we can say enough is enough? I have to say of all the new songs, I thought “Beautiful Drug” could be one of the best songs he has ever written. Of course, he gave the fans what they wanted and played a bunch of his hits from the 80’s like “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “You Give Love a Bad Name”, and “Livin’ on a Prayer”. One of the songs it was glaringly obvious that was missing from the set was his very first hit ”Runaway”. Which was completely OK by me. If I live the rest of my life and never hear that song again, I won’t shed any tears. Not because it isn’t a great song, I’ve just heard it enough. I’m probably the weirdo in the audience who prefers to hear the new music.
I think the presentation with this tour over the last one was considerably better. Although I was very disappointed that there was no pyro. The video screens that they employed, and the graphics were fantastic. They had a camera in the front row on a track that would go back and forth during the entire show to give the people in the back a great view on the large video screens. The one downside to this idea is that the stage is so high that I think the people in the front row had the worst seats in the house.
My advice to you is, go see this tour because musically they are amazing as they always have been. I think the new music is solid and you owe it to yourself to give their last record spin. But if you’re going to go to the show, the best advice I can give you is, choose a seat that’s at least 10 rows back on the floor or on the lower level on either side. It’s a considerably better view than being right up close. I enjoyed it and I will continue support him whenever he comes to town. Bon Jovi is another one of those legacy acts that’s only going to be touring for just so much longer. If you are a fan of their heyday in the 80’s and you love all those songs, this tour is totally worth the price of admission.