As a rock enthusiast and fan of the band Bon Jovi, the past few months have been difficult to swallow, as seemingly another rock band’s legacy is being tarnished. It began in April when guitarist Richie Sambora was either booted from, or left, the current tour supporting the band’s new album “Because We Can”. The standard “personal reasons” were given as the reason for his departure. Since he has been gone, the band has reportedly suffered slow ticket sales, to the point of cancelling a recent Cleveland show.
Bon Jovi is not a solo act. The sum of the whole is greater than the parts. Richie and Jon are a team and they complement each other perfectly. Without Richie, the band greatly misses a huge part of their sound, vocals and personality. To carry on as such, and continue to tour as the “band”, Bon Jovi, only leaves the paying fans to suffer. Both have since made remarks in the press about each other and numerous rumors have surfaced as to the actual reason for the split.
On July 25th the band returned to their home state of New Jersey and Richie Sambora made it clear that he wanted to return to the band for that show. It was also made clear that Jon Bon Jovi wouldn’t allow him and apparently will not even return his phone calls. Is this the same guy that wrote the lyrics to “Blood On Blood”? This after only a few months ago, Jon stating that his return was welcome when he’s ready. Regardless of the reasons, the people that brought them to this stature, the paying fans, are the ones once again that are being hurt.
My concert review below, from only two years ago, depicts the vibe, atmosphere and magic that paying fans now are being denied. Sit back, relax and let me take you back in time to feel the impact of a Bon Jovi concert as it’s meant to be, and what hopefully will once again be in the near future…before this band fades away…
I have to say, while I was a die-hard fan back in the ’80’s and have remained a huge fan of their first 5 albums, I had kinda grown out of touch with Bon Jovi since ’94. While I haven’t always liked their direction over the past 15 years, they proved last Saturday night that they are still, at their core, a legitimate, top-notch, hard rock band that rocks your socks off in concert. A good song or band, to me, takes you back to a point in life with every song.
Last Saturday it was almost like they were reading my mind with, except for a few new songs, their set list that took me back in time like it was 1989 again. In 1986, they took what Def Leppard had started and just exploded the “pop-metal” scene with Slippery When Wet. Bon Jovi’s place in hard rock/metal history is secure along with the great bands Jon founded, Cinderella and Skid Row.
To go back even further, I remember I was on vacation in Florida in 1984 and had heard “Runaway” on the radio and bought the first album on vinyl (yes vinyl). I continued to follow them and bought 7800 Fahrenheit in ’85 and played “In & Outta Love” over and over. Even their ballads always rocked with “Silent Night” being a favorite of mine from that album. I remember, like yesterday, camping out all night at Cincinnati Gardens in the summer of ’86 for David Lee Roth tickets and these guys behind us in line had just got Slippery When Wet (it just came out that day) and this one guy kept saying “play that new Bon Jovi”. Of course it was “Bad Name” and it rocked. They played it over and over.
That following winter me and some high school friends camped out again, on the coldest night of the year, in front of the Cincinnati Gardens, this time for Bon Jovi. Luckily, they passed out numbers so we could come back in the morning and have a spot in line. The five of us proceeded to get a room at the nastiest hotel in the area, but we didn’t care, it was for Bon friggin’ Jovi! Luckily as we were standing in line the next morning they added a second show.
The show last Saturday in Pittsburgh took me right back to 1987. The band was on top of their game. They were having a blast and just friggin’ rockin’! The band sounded great and were having a great time with the crowd. It was “electric”, like a great arena rock concert should be. It has renewed my appreciation and love for this band. My favorites of the night were “Born to be My Baby”, “Runaway”, “Bad Medicine”, “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “In These Arms”, “Bed of Roses” and “Raise Your Hands”. Great songs, great musicians…and the best part was experiencing it with my wife and two great friends. We were taken back in time to our youth which is what rock ‘n roll is all about. “with a six pack and the radio, we didn’t need no place to go…”