Even though Bon Jovi formed some thirty years ago, tonight they showed no signs of slowing down as they brought their undeniably catchy brand of American rock to Villa Park, Birmingham. Currently in the UK for their Because We Can tour and several festival dates, the band pulled out all the stops playing a selection of new tracks and their hits on an eye-catching and impressive stage shaped like the front of a Cadillac.
As 51 year old Jon Bon Jovi took to the stage in a patriotic stars and stripes jacket, he proved that despite his mature age he is certainly not short of female admirers as he was met by screams from around the stadium. He and the band kicked off their set with That’s What The Water Made Me from latest album What About Now, before giving the audience something that everyone knew, You Give Love A Bad Name.
As the night continued, the crowd were urged to “raise your hands” during their song of the same name and so began the first of many hand clapping moments. It was smiles and dancing all around as the band weaved their magic on stage accompanied by stunning rock and roll visuals on the big screens, performing their new tracks including Because We Can and What About Now. Favourites such as It’s My Life, Runaway, Keep The Faith, Bed of Roses and Bad Medicine also seemed to go down particularly well with the energetic audience.
Re-emerging for a ridiculously long encore of six songs, everyone still seemed just as eager to party as they had been at the beginning of the evening as Jon Bon Jovi won everyone over with his enigmatic smile, charisma and oh so beautiful voice during tracks Wanted Dead Or Alive and In These Arms. As the lights came down and phones were held up around the stadium, the encore was of course ended with their most famous song Livin’ On A Prayer, which still gives me chills down my spine whenever I hear it acoustically.
As the evening ended for many leaving the stadium early to catch trains or get back home for work the next day, the band had one last surprise as they burst into a second encore of Always and Blood on Blood. Even without guitarist Ritchie Sambora (he isn’t on tour for personal reasons, so top session guitarist Phil X is acting as super-sub) the band showed no signs of taking it easy during their somewhat epic two and a half hour set and could certainly give most young rock bands a run for their money.