LAKE GENEVA, Wis. - After a two-year hiatus, Bon Jovi has visited Wisconsin three times in the past five months. And unlike two years ago when Bon Jovi was at Summerfest and the group did not play “Livin’ On a Prayer,” this time the band played hit after hit.
On a beautiful night, under the stars, Bon Jovi opened with “Bounce,” the title track from the group’s latest CD, then went right into “You Give Love a Bad Name” as the crowd roared with cheers that put to shame the crowd on hand the previous week for the Dave Matthews Band.
As is typical for a Bon Jovi concert, the show was about more than just one person. Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi looked like he may be having more fun out there than ever before. This is likely because he isn’t playing to make money (since he has already made millions). Instead, he looks like he is out there to play because he loves to — and he knows the fans love the show as well.
“Livin’ On A Prayer” was still the audience’s favorite song, as Jon started with a slow rendition of the first verse before kicking it into high gear as the crowd went wild and joined in the excitement.
Drummer Tico Torres was as strong as ever, keeping the beat moving and the show going. He also impressed some in the crowd with his ability to smoke while playing with both hands and not missing a beat.
As usual, guitarist Richie Sambora also played flawlessly, and once again (as in Milwaukee and Madison), sang an impressive solo of “I’ll Be There For You,” which the crowd loved and, like almost every song during the evening, participated in at every chance they could.
There were only two disappointments in the show. The first was that the band did not play “Always” in any of the three recent Wisconsin concerts. The second was that, during the encore, to everyone’s amazement, the band played “Bad Medicine” — it would have been the perfect ending to the evening. However, the group decided to break into “Shout” afterward, which lost some of the excitement since it is not a Bon Jovi original and thus reminded the crowd of something a cover band would do — not a rock-n-roll legend.
To the band’s credit though, this was the only non-Bon Jovi song played, a pleasant change from the Madison concert. The band also stuck to one encore, which is to its credit. The band members went out, played their hearts out, came back for a solid 4-song encore, and took their bows. That’s the secret — wow the crowd and then leave while they are still wanting more.
Bon Jovi showed why it is not just another ‘80s band touring and trying to make a comeback. No comeback is necessary, with other timeless hits including “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Bed of Roses” and “Blaze of Glory,” as well as recent hits like “It’s My Life” and “Everyday,” the band truly has shown how timeless it is in the rock ‘n’ roll world.