Article and Photography by: Larry Young
DALLAS, TEXAS –A serious and somewhat retrospective Bon Jovi arrived this past Thursday night at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. This marks Bon Jovi’s first album and first tour in over four years since losing longtime guitarist Richie Sambora. The decades-long musical partnership had a shattering effect on the singer. He told the crowd that he wasn’t sure he would be or even wanted to write again. He wasn’t sure he had a place in the music scene.
The 2½-hour concert, played to a jam-packed house, opening with the title cut from “This House is Not for Sale”. The band performing behind a sheer curtain adorned with a photo of the house from the album cover. The minimalist stage set sent a message from the band that the songs were the focus of the show. This also was Bon Jovi’s first Dallas show in over a decade; Jon Bon Jovi let the crowd know the band would be playing songs “old, new, borrowed, blue.”
After nearly 35 years of making music, you might think that Bon Jovi might have missed a step or two, or go out and play a greatest hits concert. But the truth is that the set is filled with new tracks from the latest album and they still know how to put on a show.
They did however play all the songs you’d expect to hear: “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “Bad Medicine” and “Who Says You
Can’t Go Home.” And with these, Songs like “God Bless This Mess” and “Scars on This Guitar” come right from the heart. During “Lay Your Hands on Me,” Jon Bon Jovi swiveled his hips, played air-keyboards and strutted around the stage like the Bon Jovi of old. For the song “Bad Medicine,” he flashed a spotlight on different areas of the audience, and on “Keep the Faith,” the singer accompanied drummer Tico on maracas.
Watching Jon Bon Jovi on stage, prancing and stomping and strutting around, pursing his lips, pumping his fists and grinning like a matinee idol, whatever it is…he still has it. No matter what he was singing from a country-tinged rocker like Lost Highway or the Bon Jovi classic Wanted Dead or Alive (which upon Bon Jovi’s insistence, the audience sang the first verse alone), Bon Jovi worked his workmanlike magic from the floor to the very back rows. Even had a brief tribute to Prince, the line from the invocation to Let’s Go Crazy with the floor bathed in purple light, it was delivered in a flash, so as not to distract from all the dazzle of the show at hand.
Jon Bon Jovi is a full-on Rock Star! Even after over thirty years Bon Jovi still knows how to make the crowd feel special.