Cari Jean resides in North Dakota, where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.
A Band that Spans Decades
If you were a rock music fan in the 1980s and early 1990s, much of the music you listened to was most likely performed by hairbands. Although some of them are making a comeback, many of these hairbands have faded throughout the years. Bon Jovi, however, has been a mainstay in the rock music scene. Their music, albums, and live concerts have spanned decades.
Diehard Bon Jovi fans well remember the band's first hit ever, "Runaway," from their debut album, Bon Jovi. The band released the album in 1984. Just two years later, their songs, "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer," made them an international phenomenon. They went on to become one of the world's most successful and established rock bands.
While many artists from the 80s have all but disappeared, Bon Jovi is still performing live. They kicked off their 2022 Tour in Omaha, Nebraska on April 1st. Two days later, they performed at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, my first-ever Bon Jovi concert.
Bon Jovi kicked off the concert with "Limitless." This wasn't a surprise as it is from the band's most recent album, 2020. As soon as Jon Bon Jovi started singing, I thought there was something a little off with his vocals. Then they went into the next song, "The Radio Saved My Life Tonight, which came out in 2004. Honestly, I haven't listened to a lot of Bon Jovi since the late 1990's, so this song wasn't familiar to me.
I didn't have to wait long, though, to hear a much more familiar tune as they went into, "You Give Love a Bad Name." Jon Bon Jovi's vocals were still shaky, but at this point I didn't really care. It seemed like the other 14,999 people at the Xcel Energy Center didn't care either, as everyone in the building began belting out the well-known lyrics.
The next song was "We Weren't Born to Follow" from their eleventh studio album, The Circle. They played another song from this album, "Love's the Only Rule" as part of their encore. Next up was "It's My Life" another one of their more popular songs that got everyone fired up again. Before he played it, Jon Bon Jovi told the crowd that this song has become an anthem for those in Odessa, Ukraine.
This wasn't the first time Jon Bon Jovi mentioned the Ukraine. Later on, he would dedicate the song, "We Don't Run" to the Ukrainians during an acoustic set that also included, "American Reckoning" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night." But just before the acoustic set, the band had performed three more of their hits, "Just Older," "Born to Be My Baby," and "Keep the Faith."
Keep the Faith
Following the acoustic set, which seemed to give Jon and the boys an chance to catch their breath, they continued with, "Who Says You Can't Go Home." The song was written by Jon Bon Jovi and ex-bandmate (not to mention sorely missed bandmate) Richie Sambora. It appeared on their 2005 album, Have a Nice Day. Some Bon Jovi fans thought this song was an odd choice, as it's a duet with Jennifer Nettles from the country band, Sugarland. But it's also the only song for which Bon Jovi has ever won a Grammy award.
Other mega hits that Bon Jovi sang during the second half of the show included "Wanted Dead or Alive" and of course, "Livin' On a Prayer." They saved "Bad Medicine" for the encore and last song of the night.
Songs that made up the rest of the set list included:
- Beautiful Drug
- Let It Rain
- Lost Highway
- Do What You Can
- This House Is Not for Sale
- Have a Nice Day
Noticeably missing was a power ballad. I was very disappointed (crushed actually) not to hear "I'll Be There for You, "Bed or Roses," "Always" or "This Ain't A Love Song." Maybe it's just me, but "Never Say Goodbye" seems like it would have been quite appropriate. It does seem that Jon Bon Jovi truly never wants to say goodbye to his fans and that he'll be making music for many years to come. And even if his vocals aren't up to it, he is still an amazing songwriter and musician.
It's My Life
Final Thoughts About the Bon Jovi Concert
Since the concert, I have read many reviews about the disappointing vocal performance of Jon Bon Jovi during the first part of the 2022 Tour. I have also read that people are upset he didn't play more of his older music. I would have preferred to hear more of that as well. Even though the concert didn't meet all of my super high expectations, I am still very happy I went. It has been a lifelong dream to attend a Bon Jovi concert and I finally got the chance.
Despite the less-than-stellar vocal performance, Jon Bon Jovi proved that he still has plenty of energy and it was obvious he was having a blast onstage. The band's backup vocals and musicianship was absolutely amazing and they were fun to watch. Are they the rock stars they once were at the height of their popularity? Of course not. Who would expect that from a band that has been playing music for nearly 4 decades? And keep in mind Jon Bon Jovi just turned 60 in March of 2022.
But they're not old, just older.
© 2022 Cari Jean