Still Rocking the House!!!
Very rarely do big time rock stars come through Dallas twice on the same tour cycle but that’s what the area fans of Bon Jovi were treated to Monday night. In a follow up to their widely successful show in 2017 at the American Airlines Center, Jon and the boys thrilled the audience with another two hours of solid rock-n-roll hits.
Continuing their theme of letting a local band open the show (kudos to Blacktop Mojo for last year’s show), Bon Jovi welcomed The Contagious onto the big stage and these three young guys did not disappoint. I’m pretty sure the AAC crowd was not expecting high school sophomores to rock out as well as they did, but they did just that with the sound of a seasoned band – sound was full & rich with great rhythm and tone – and the boys did not seem a bit overwhelmed in the cavernous arena. Their brand of hard charging rock-n-roll was full on fantastic and while they still have a few kinks to work out = we should be hearing some great things from these guys really soon. With wailing guitars, thumping bass and some killer drum work – they tore through a half dozen or so songs (“Sedona” and “This Time” stood out the most) like there was no tomorrow.
The AAC was packed by the time the lights dimmed for the beginning of Bon Jovi’s set and a front stage curtain projected an American flag followed by shots of a fast car racing towards the concert venue. The first few bars of “This House Is Not For Sale” were played behind said curtain until it finally dropped allowing the whole audience (not just us lucky ones on the side of the stage) to see the clear stage set up bathed in glowing, bright white lights. With the audience screaming at the top of their lungs, Jon led his band through a fine representation of their entire career as they bounced around decades of music that sounded like the soundtrack of our lives.
Early hits like “You Give Love a Bad Name” were surrounded by more recent tunes like “Knockout” (had the serious fans down front going nuts) and “Whole Lot of Leavin’” & “Lost Highway”. “Because We Can” was highlighted by Jon’s acapella intro and “Born to Be My Baby” featured him dancing all over the stage. His acoustic guitar abilities were displayed during “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” while the whole band’s hard rocking intro carried “It’s My Life” to new heights as the audience tried their best to keep up.
A trio of newer tunes (“We Weren’t Born to Follow”, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” and We Got It Goin’ On”) paved the way for the re-imagined “Keep the Faith” that featured David Bryan’s exhilarating keyboard work!!! To further show off the band’s expertise, Jon left the stage for a bit as guitarists Phil X and John Shanks took turns shredding solos as bassist Hugh McDonald, Percussionist/Backing Vocalist Everett Bradley and drummer Tico Torres ripped through an extended jam session. Perhaps the highlight of the night so far occurred when Jon ventured out into the audience to sing a couple of songs – “Amen” and “Bed of Roses”. The former was simply beautiful and the latter featured the audience bathed in red lights, swaying & swooning as Jon belted out the touching lyrics to this stunning masterpiece.
Two rock anthem classics (“Lay Your Hands on Me” and “Bad Medicine”) surrounded two relatively new songs (“God Bless This Mess” and “Have a Nice Day”) as the band continued to thrill the audience with no real let down throughout the set. Stepping into the darkness for a few seconds to allow the fans time to catch their breath, Bon Jovi reappeared to knock out perhaps their two best known hits ever = “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”. Jon and the whole band played these last two just as perfectly as the first two and the whole show was something to be remembered for a long time. Not sure if they’ll come back through a third time – but if they do, I’m pretty sure quite a few of these fans will be here again.