Jon Bon Jovi mugs like Jagger

Star Tribune photo by Marlin Levison


Bruce Springsteen can get away with touring without drummer Max Weinberg (replaced by son Jay Weinberg while Dad had Conan O’Brien duties) or guitarist Steve Van Zandt (replaced by Tom Morello –awesome – while SVZ was shooting his TV show in Norway). After all, it’s billed as Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

I explained in my review why Bon Jovi can’t get away without Richie Sambora in concert. That’s like Guns N’ Roses without Slash. Journey without Steve Perry. Or Fleetwood Mac without Christine McVie.

Most importantly, Bon Jovi’s concert Sunday at the X just wasn’t as galvanizing as the last several Bon Jovi shows I’ve seen in the Twin Cities. And that’s the bottom line.

Sure, there were enough fist-pumping anthems to keep the fans amped, though Jon Bon Jovi chided them at one point for not being enthusiastic enough.

Same could be said about his energy, which was less kinetic than in past shows. This was a smaller stage – round, with a semi-circle runway. But there wasn’t much JBJ running around the stage; instead we got rock-star poses, and, as you can see from Marlin Levison’s photo,Jon mugs like Jagger.

Bon Jovi showed little camaraderie with his sidemen. In fact, none was ever in bright lights except guitarist Phil X. And Fill In never really got the full rock-star spotlight treatment.

The Jersey boys played three numbers from the new album, “What About Now,” which debuted at No. 1 last month after selling 101,000 copies. The songs address Jon Bon Jovi’s social activism in a vague way while musically essaying to become more anthems in the Bon Jovi canon.

Throughout the generous 2 ¾-hour concert, Jon Bon Jovi kept saying things like “it’s been a while since I’ve been back” and “I came back to the Twin Cities for one reason only because I like to make Minnesota girls scream.” Never a mention of “we,” as in the band Bon Jovi.

The only suggestion of Sambora all night was his silhouette in an animated video shown while the band played “What About Now.”


Here is Sunday’s set list:

You Give Love a Bad Name/ Raise Your Hands/ Runaway/ Lost Highway/ Because We Can/ That’s What the Water Made Me/ It’s My Life/ Superman Tonight/ What About Now/ We Got It Goin On/ Keep the Faith/ Jon Bon Jovi on runway by himself: Make a Memory/ Bed of Roses/ I’ll Be There for You/ back to main stage We Weren’t Born to Follow/ Born To Be My Baby/ Who Says You Can’t Go Home/ I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead > Dancing in the Street (Martha & the Vandellas) > Start Me Up (Rolling Stones)/ Bad Medicine ENCORE 1 When We Were Beautiful/ Wanted: Dead or Alive/ ???? (sorry, I was busy writing my review to meet deadline) / Livin’ on a Prayer ENCORE 2 ????/ Always

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