If it wasn't already, last night New Jersey officially became the fist pumping capital of the world. Now I don't know what was actually going on in that state last night, but one of their favourite musical sons, Bon Jovi came into town and there was a enough fist pumping to be had to choke a horse. I don't know if that is possible, but if it was it would have occurred last night.
On stage fist pumping happened at regular intervals (ex: "It's -pump – my – pump -life"-pump) and in the crowd it was happening all night prompted by the band's charismatic front man or unprompted. I began to wonder if all of the piston-like arm motion would lead to a bunch of people walking around town with one arm bigger than another. An odd by product of the band from Jersey coming into town so often.
The fist pumping made me think that the crowd at Bon Jovi concerts should get equal billing with the rock superstars. The amount of singing, dancing and thrusting of their fists into the air they do brings much to the show. The energy is palpable and the men on stage obviously appreciate and at the same time feed off of it. As important a contribution as Bon Jovi made to the evening I think that the crowd on this night made it equally as special.
Within a span of just over one year Bon Jovi the über popular band will have played a show in this city on five different nights. This past Friday night was the first of two sold out back-to-back shows at the Bell Centre and over 21,000 people showed their affection for a band that has always been popular in this city.
From the opening notes of "Last Man Standing", which featured Jon playing his black acoustic guitar on a small platform in the crowd on the opposite end of the arena from the stage, the crowd was on its feet, singing along, dancing, jumping, screaming, and, yes, fist pumping until the very last notes of "Livin' On a Prayer" over 2 ½ hours and 27 songs later.
Rarely in the history of rock music has a band for so long (27 years and counting) and so regularly churned out hit after smash hit. The boys from Jersey have used 4/4 beats and anthemic hooks for all they are worth. Fans lap it up.
Never let it be said that Jon Bon Jovi is not a great front man. He worked the entire stage from side to side and front to back with athleticism and energy that not many others have. He is a showman. Using every bit of his talents as an actor – Jon poses and struts like the cowboy rocker role he is playing. Women swoon and men want to be him.
The band knows how to mix up the tempo as not to exhaust itself (Jon is almost 49, Richie Sambora is 51, Tico Torres is 57, and David Bryan is 49) or the crowd. "Squeezebox" and "Something for the Pain" were done acoustically with the band coming out to the front centre of the stage and wowing fans with songs featuring three part harmonies. While these moments were great what really took the cake were the high tempo rock anthems like "Bad Medicine", "Lay Your Hands on Me" (sung by Richie) and "You Give Love a Bad Name".
They engage with their radio friendly melodies, the great looks and great hair of their heartthrob front man Jon Bon Jovi and positive lyrics. The carpe diem message of their hit "It's My Life" was lapped up by the thousands of fans at the Bell Centre. You can see the large arena friendly choruses coming from a mile away, but that does not really matter. They are fun to sing at the top of your voice (which against my better judgement – crucify me, but I'm not a fan – I found myself doing on a number of occasions) and create moments where band and fans can create something together. Just like their song "(You Want to) Make a Memory", band and fans together, make an evening to remember for all in attendance.
1) Last Man Standing
2) You Give Love a Bad Name
3) Born to Be My Baby
4) We Weren't Born to Follow
5) Lost Highway
6) Whole Lot Of Leavin'
7) When We Were Beautiful
8) It's My Life
10) We Got It Goin' On
11) Bad Medicine / Pretty Woman
12) Lay Your Hands on Me (Richie Sambora on vocals)
13) (You Want To) Make A Memory
14) What Do You Got?
16) Something for the Pain
17) Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
18) Who Says You Can't Go Home
19) I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
20) No Apologies
21) Have a Nice Day
22) Keep the Faith
23) Dry County
24) Wanted Dead or Alive
25) I Love This Town
26) The More Things Change
27) Livin' on a Prayer