Bon Jovi Setlist
Bon Jovi Members
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals/Guitar
David Bryan – Keyboards/Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums
Hugh McDonald – Bass/Vocals
Phil X(enidis) – Guitar/Vocals
John Shanks – Guitar/Vocals
Everett Bradley – Percussion/Vocals
04/05/17 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
04/07/17 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
04/08/17 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
04/10/17 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
04/11/17 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
04/14/17 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
08/18/17 Endicott, NY En-Joie Golf Course
09/22/17 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- Rock in Rio
They have a new house to show off—but it’s not for sale,
Still going after some thirty-four years in the business, Bon Jovi returned to town, playing (surprisingly) to over 18,000 at a sold-out Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for a two-and-a-half hour set that pleased both longtime fans and more recent listeners.
The evening began with a short twenty-five minute opening set, by locally-based band Step Rockets, who successfully headlined the Triple Rock Social Club late last month, and won a contest Bon Jovi is holding in every city on their tour, as a chance to open for them in an arena-sized venue.
The band, who plays synth-tinged modern pop with worldly grooves, recently released their first EP, Future Nature and song ‘Money’. But in full disclosure, we unfortunately didn’t see a second of the band, as we didn’t arrive until after their set, deciding to wait until after show time to secure a rock bottom ticket online (six dollars!), to catch the headliner.
As a result, we arrived at the arena between sets, in time to catch the last few minutes of Bon Jovi advertisements (ever the businessman) repeated on-screen for the band’s merch, smartphone app, wine collection, and even his father’s pasta sauce.
Lights dimmed as Bon Jovi took to the stage behind a large curtain in relative darkness and a barrage of sound effects to begin their long headlining set. Beginning with the title track to the new album, This House is Not for Sale (Island Records) the curtain dropped just before the first chorus to a bevy of screams to reveal the big but relatively simple black stage- catwalks on the sides and back, the band’s dagger heart logo at the center, and surrounded by automated lightning that rose and lowered on metal trestles that resembled skyscrapers at full height.
The core three members remain (the now silver-haired Jon, keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres) with now-official members Hugh McDonald on bass and Phil X on lead guitar joining, along with touring percussionist Everett Bradley and Bon Jovi’s creative partner of recent times, John Shanks on rhythm guitar.
“Been a while since we’ve been here, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do”, Bon Jovi said before launching into breakthrough hit, ‘Bad Name’, not breaking a sweat enough to take off his leather jacket, until near the end.
The new album was undoubtedly the focus of the first half of the show, with the band playing six of the cuts and Bon Jovi explaining how the photo on the album’s cover, inspired the entire direction of the new album.
Second single, ‘Rollercoaster’ sounded like vintage Bon Jovi and most older ballads (‘Always’, ‘Bed of Roses’, etc) were (gratefully) left off the setlist, with the new album’s ballad, ‘Scars on my Guitar’ filling that place instead.
Early on, Bon Jovi acknowledged the metro as being one of eight initial cities, to have their first single, ‘Runaway’ in radio rotation, some thirty-four years ago, and the continued faith of area fans, as to why they keep coming back.
“I think it’s about time we put this thing into second gear!” Bon Jovi exclaimed, launching into ‘It’s My Life’, which gave the band a second life in the mid-90’s, when hard rock had given way to grunge and other music.
A set of five large sheer back panel vertical screens came down to provide some visuals to the new songs halfway in, with Bon Jovi reciting the opening lyrics of ‘God Bless This Mess’ as the band kicked in. ‘New Year’s Day’ was actually inspired by Sting’s Broadway musical, The Last Ship, which he saw and immediately identified with the struggle of the working class ship builders.
“From here on out, it’s hits, all hits, nothing but the hits!” Bon Jovi announced for the last hour, as the band went into Slippery When Wet’s ‘Lay Your Hands on Me’ from thirty years ago and the crowd singing along with the chorus. “Is there a doctor in the house?!” he yelled as ‘Bad Medicine’ rose voices to the rafters, and the appropriate ‘Keep the Faith’ closed out the main set.
The three-song encore continued the hit parade, starting with the brotherhood anthem ‘Blood on Blood’ (though it seems more like a business with Richie Sambora departed) and Bon Jovi giving a shout-out to his Uncle Bob and cousins, from the metro and in attendance, seeing the band for the first time.
‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ began acoustically with the crowd singing the chorus before the band revved up the song, and a faithful ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ closing the night, with guitarist Phil X ably handling the solo and talkbox voice work, that Sambora once did.
Bon Jovi’s “house” may be thirty-five years old and counting, but this new album and tour seem like a new coat of paint and some interior renovations, to make sure the house can continue on into the future. Being able to still have new songs on the radio and filling arenas to capacity, is a good sign their popularity still remains high.
Bon Jovi at Xcel Energy Center, St Paul (27 March 2017)