Ladies and Gentlemen! Sit back. Mingle with your date or the fellow rocker that is beside you. Grab your beer or cocktails and listen to the sounds of the music playing throughout the arena. The same sounds of an era full of mascara, lipstick, favorite concert shirts, cut up jeans and enough Aqua Net in the air to start a California wildfire with a single match.
The house lights slowly dim down with a subtle commotion of the incoming crowd still finding their seats as the opening band is about to strike their first chord. Hold tight my friends. Prepare yourself to get off your seat and “Raise Your Hands.” Tonight in the Mile High City, the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Bon Jovi kick off their tour right here in Denver!
But, before the inductees take to the stage this illustrious evening, the openers and Live Nation contest winners from Ft. Collins, Colorado, The Patti Fiasco take the stage. This five-piece powerhouse kick out some good ol’ rock n roll mixed with rockabilly and a touch of Americana for a very tight, grooving set. For our interview on The Patti Fiasco, CLICK HERE
Lights on! Intermission between the two bands of the evening. More 80’s music playing overhead, concession runs and more of the crowd files in. The anticipation is building up like a bullfighter in the ring! People are on the edge of their seat for what is about to take place. Whether this is your first time seeing the boys in Bon Jovi or the 100th time, the lump in your throat and beating in your chest still feels the same.
Lights out and the crowd stands to their feet! The cheering of the crowd is intense! A black banner with the American flag hologram hits us right in the face as we wait for the boys of Bon Jovi. The band that has sold over 120 million records worldwide are about to take the stage! What song are the boys going to start out with tonight? It is anyone’s guess. With a confident stride, Bon Jovi comes out from under the stage. Their once teased up 80’s long hair, is replaced with a touch of gray in the locks and they launch right into their new song, “This House is not for Sale” off their album of the same name.
Whoa! Without taking a breath or missing a beat, they launch into arguably their biggest hit, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” by just the third song…already! Hit it, guys! Lucky number 7 song of the set brings us back to that monster of an album, “New Jersey,” with the song “Born to be my Baby”…this writers personal favorite.
About a third of the way and with our pulses chugging along like freight train, Mr. Bongiovi, as it states on his birth certificate, says to the crowd, “oh yea, the hits just keep on coming,” much to the delight of the packed Pepsi Center crowd. “Time to turn up the heat,” proclaims Jon and as familiar “Whoa whoa! Whoa whoaaaaa! This ain’t a song for the broken hearted…” blasts out the amps and the crowd bolts out, “It’s. MY. Life!”
Just when the pace is set, the band throws us a curve ball and the lights go out. What do we see unexpectedly in the crowd… stage left? The treat of the night for a very special, security guarded section. Jon appears several rows up on a small platform and starts singing what is to be two songs. Including the hit “Bed of Roses,” where he is dancing, serenading and giving out a few kisses to a few lucky few individuals nearby.
With Jon firmly back to the stage, they launch into several classic songs from their arsenal and some tunes from the new album, “This House Is Not for Sale.” These songs actually pack a punch and keep the crowd clapping and singing with enthusiasm.
With the concert approaching the two-hour mark, the boys from Bon Jovi leave for a break and come back out for their first and only encore. Up their sleeve were the well-known hits “Bad Medicine,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and always a surefire fan favorite, “Livin’ on a Prayer” to close the sold out show. As you can imagine, there was not a sole in the entire arena not singing the last song at the top of their lungs.
The only thing missing tonight besides the big hair, ok maybe some leather pants and halter tops, was that the trustworthy sideman and gunslinger, Richie Sambora was not on tonight’s stage. He is off on his own doing other projects. However, Phil X and John Shanks filled in quite nicely!
I would have to say, what a rockin’, nostalgic night to remember! Definitely, a performance that makes you want to stand up and shout, tease your hair and raise those fists to the rock gods faster than u can put the cap back on that bottle of Drakkar Noir you have been saving since 1989. Bon Jovi proved they still have what it takes to rock! One things for sure, Bon Jovi does not rest on its laurels and is continuing to be a driving force in music… in any era. Jon also still has the moves to command the stage and in his own words this evening, he “took us to church!” Amen, JBJ!
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Article by Sean Huntsman
Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography