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This article was published 17/7/2010 (4155 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG — With a thunderstorm warning, rain and lightning strikes Saturday afternoon, Bon Jovi's concert could have been slippery and wet.
Concert organizers were living on prayers throughout the day and they were answered right before the show's 7 p.m. start time. The storm shifted, the weather warnings were called off and the rain stopped.
"Brothers and sisters, there's only one way to hold off the rain tonight -- scream!" frontman Jon Bon Jovi urged following a slight drizzle.
The crowd complied, and so did the weather -- even Mother Nature has a crush on Jon Bon Jovi.
She would have fit in perfectly, then, with the adoring crowd of 40,000 who packed Canad Inns Stadium for the New Jersey pop-rock band's stop as part of their tour in support of their new album, The Circle.
To call the album mediocre would be generous, so they wisely offered up a career retrospective over the course of their two-hour and 15 minute, 22-song set instead of focusing strictly on the new songs.
"Winnipeg, it's Saturday night. This isn't television, baby. Get out of your seats, get out of your seats, get out of your seats!" the vocalist urged before the band kicked into You Give Love a Bad Name, which got everyone on their feet and singing along.
The fact the 1986 smash was played three songs in is a testament to just how many singles Bon Jovi has. The band -- Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan, bassist Hugh McDonald and an additional guitarist -- sprinkled mega-hits with lesser numbers in a perfectly paced set. Newer songs like Lost Highway, Whole Lotta Leaving and We Weren't Born to Follow were mixed between older favourites like Born to Be My Baby, Bad Medicine, Lay Your Hands On Me and It's My Life.
There's no denying they have perfected a formula that resonates with a large number of people. (There must be a bit of paranoia running throughout the Bon Jovi camp, though, because stadium staff were confiscating the caps from pop bottles so they couldn't be thrown at the band.)
These guys know how to work a crowd, too. Even when they turned the giant video screen behind them into a jukebox and delivered snippets of Pretty Woman and Shout, the entire audience was jumping in unison with their hands in the air.
The frontman wasn't jumping as high as he usually does because of a torn calf muscle suffered during a show last weekend, but other than a slight limp, you couldn't tell the 48-year-old heartthrob was injured.
His leg didn't prevent him from taking advantage of the band's massive setup, either. The stage was a giant semi-circle with the backdrop serving as a huge video screen, dwarfing two smaller screens on either side of the stage. Fans who paid a premium were seated in a sectioned-off area right up front in the middle of a semi-circular catwalk that extended about 25 rows into the crowd.
The frontman got up close and personal during the ballad Bed of Roses -- another sing-along that had the cellphones and lighters out. He was joined by Sambora for the tearjerker/wedding song I'll be There for You.
After the main set limped to a close with When We Were Beautiful, Work for the Working Man and Have a Nice Day, the band returned to finish things off with the Slippery When Wet favourites Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin' on a Prayer, sending the liquored-up crowd home happy.
Prior to Bon Jovi, Detroit rabble rouser Kid Rock showed off his different musical personalities with a fun 55-minute set that incorporated gospel, soul, hip-hop, rock, metal, piano ballads and country.
Decked out in a baby blue jacket and matching fedora, the man born Robert James Richie took to the stage to the strains of the gospel-tinged Rock 'N' Roll Jesus and instantly had the crowd on his side.
He offered up some southern rock on Never Met a Motherf--ker Quite Like Me, got funky on a cover of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People, coaxed the sun out with the hick-hop of Cowboy and had the crowd swaying and singing along to the crossover ballad Picture.
He got the biggest cheers for the anthem All Summer Long, a mashup of Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama, which was one of the best singles of 2008.
City singer-songwriter Sierra Noble and her four-piece band gathered under large umbrellas as they opened the show with a half-hour set of mellow folk and roots rock that was a sharp contrast to the headliners. The low-key set picked up when she pulled out her fiddle for an energetic jig that got some fans hooting and clapping along.
Noble won a contest to open for Bon Jovi. Winnipeg indie-rockers Enjoy Your Pumas will open for the band in Regina on July 28.
July 17, 2010
Canad Inns Stadium
4 out of 5