When Chicago Concert Reviews caught up with Bon Jovi’s keyboard player David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres just prior to starting the “This House Is Not For Sale” Tour, the guys promised a night of non-stop music over politics and a completely fresh, 360 degree show themed after its chart-topping album of the same name. And that’s exactly what they brought and then some with long time leader Jon Bon Jovi, alongside the now official guitarist Phil X, bassist Hugh McDonald, producer/touring rhythm guitarist John Shanks and adjunct percussionist Everett Bradley at a sold out United Center for practically two-and-a-half high-octane hours.
Saving “Livin’ On A Prayer” for the grand finale was also expected, but even with its endless airplay and nightly obligation, the masses continue to make the anthem their own, ensuring Bon Jovi will always have a place atop the rock crop throughout any season of shifting trends or whenever the band decides to reinforce an already sturdy foundation.
Yet this wasn’t just some standard greatest hits show, and outside of the requisite selections from Bon Jovi’s initial run in the ‘80s, a significant emphasis was placed on the group’s rebuilding period. In fact, everyone locked right in step with today’s modern rock trends, employing loads of gang vocals, charging choruses and an increased emphasis on electronic elements throughout the opening title track, “Knockout,” “Roller Coaster” and “New Year’s Day” (amongst others).
Bon Jovi also demonstrated just how many singles have come since 2000’s “Crush” comeback, with “Lost Highway,” “We Weren’t Born To Follow,” “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” “It’s My Life” and “Have A Nice Day” all stomping with arena-shaking insistence as they also avoided making the show sound too dated. Perhaps the decision to focus on more recent times came from the departure of longtime guitarist/co-songwriter Richie Sambora surrounding 2013’s “What About Now” era, whose wizardry and performance chemistry with the otherwise ageless and animated Jon was indeed missed, though it should also be noted that Phil X is a forceful and well-rehearsed musician in his own right.
However, there was no way any of the players would’ve gotten out of the Windy City alive without at least blasting through older staples such as “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “Bad Medicine” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” Saving “Livin’ On A Prayer” for the grand finale was also expected, but even with its endless airplay and nightly obligation, the masses continue to make the anthem their own, ensuring Bon Jovi will always have a place atop the rock crop throughout any season of shifting trends or whenever the band decides to reinforce an already sturdy foundation.
Click here for more Bon Jovi photos from the United Center.
For additional information on Bon Jovi, visit BonJovi.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at the United Center include John Mayer (Apr. 11); Neil Diamond (May 28); Red Hot Chili Peppers (Jun. 30 and Jul. 1); Queen + Adam Lambert (July 13); Roger Waters (Jul. 22 and 23); J. Cole (Jul. 24-25); Bruno Mars (Aug. 16, 17 and 19); Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey (Aug. 26) and Andrea Bocelli (Dec. 6). For additional details, visit UnitedCenter.com, LiveNation.com and Ticketmaster.com.