February 23, 2017
American Airlines Center
By Michael Insuaste
Photo by Sam McClary
Livin' On A Prayer @ The AAC
80's RockStar Lacks Luster And Steam But Still Knocks Them Out With New LP!
The anticipating return of Bon Jovi was met with big reward from his fan base but fell short of what was expected from a big show.
The American Airlines Center in Dallas Texas was packed from top to bottom, even behind the stage with what looked like 90% women overall. Yeah, female power came out in droves to see Mr. Bon Jovi and company. But with only three original band members remaining, the other four musicians outnumbered the debut 1984 line up.
To say I was slightly excited to see the show would be an over-statement. I say this because I feel Bon Jovi, as a band, has lost its edge with the direction his music has come to and the replacement of guitarist Richie Sambora. Even with the two new guitar players, I was going in with low expectations. I was correct.
My initial excitement was in seeing the opening band, Blacktop Mojo, from Palestine, Texas who were the winners of the "Open For Bon Jovi" contest. I give Jon Bon Jovi props for allowing local unknowns a shot to play for a packed hometown crowd which is being conducted on every city on the US tour. But, as faith would have it, I DID NOT get to see the short 20 minute opening set due to heavy traffic and congestion in AAC parking. That right their puts the FU in FUN! Totally missed their show!
Kicking off with "This House Is Not For Sale," title track of his new album with the same name, the AAC exploded with screaming cheers, and with the majority being female, it was practically ear piercing. It took the third number for me to recognize a familiar song, "You Give Love A Bad Name" and I don't need to explain that the place went absolutely nuts!
So just when I thought the show was going to get cooking with hits, for me, it went down hill with new material, obscure songs or hit songs that I was not familiar with. Not just the lack of familiar tunes, Jon Bon Jovi lacked stage presence with minimal moves and almost avoiding the people behind stage who were graced with a few seconds of attention.
The final 20 minutes of the show lit up with the "Big Hits" as Bon Jovi played back to back hits... "Lay Your Hands On Me," "Dead or Alive," "Bad Medicine" and their 1986 smash "Living On A Prayer," their biggest commercial hit, at least from his hay day! You would think he would end with an encore but not tonight! The lights went up and the crowd quickly shifted out.
No matter how harsh I am on this review, the fans were not disappointed, at least the majority of them. From what I can see the smiles and bright eyes never left the fans from beginning to end. One mans opinion doesn't compare to the enthusiasm of thousands, especially when most of the fans grew with the changes of Bon Jovi through the last thirty years. Tonight was their night and the house rocked. Hopefully we will see the return of Richie Sambora and possibly a Hits Tour next time around! Maybe!
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