Mohegan Sun First Night Review Mar 27, 2010 19:34:09 GMT -4
Post by alicefaye4jon on Mar 27, 2010 19:34:09 GMT -4
By THOMAS KINTNER The Hartford Courant
11:43 p.m. EST, March 26, 2010
UNCASVILLE - Among 1980s rock bands, Bon Jovi is a rarity: an act that continues to thrive on popular new music rather than simply the mining of past hits. The New Jersey-spawned group with more than a quarter century behind it toured comfortably across its history in the first of a two-night stand at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Friday, and cranked up its outsized ear candy in amiable fashion.
Frontman Jon Bon Jovi remains the grit-lined texture of a sound otherwise confined to high-polish romps across the mainstream, decorating the likes of the contoured opener, "Happy Now," with his craggy shout. Not so much driving the band's personality as signing it, he branded tunes with pleasantly ragged edges, snapping at the accessible throb of "We Weren't Born to Follow," and selling the sizable hook attached to the manicured anthem "You Give Love a Bad Name."
Guitarist Richie Sambora was only mildly showy in his work, etching electric squeals across the face of the group's driving pop to color the propulsive "Born to Be My Baby" and the robust "Lost Highway." Heavy doses of formulaic, smooth-edge inertia are the band's bread and butter, forged into a pleasantly authoritative sound that powered "The Radio Saved My Life Tonight" and the gusty rock ballad " Superman Tonight" with equal vigor.
A sizable stage was accented by an array of large video screens that broke into smaller units and moved about, or turned sideways to act as a stage for Bon Jovi as he pranced in front of the audience seated behind the band during "We Got It Goin' On." Those touches were the most notable flourishes in a performance built around the group' relaxed handle on its material, as it spun out the likes of its chugging chestnut "Bad Medicine" with practiced ease, swirling it together with the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues."
Bon Jovi and Sambora moved to a perch in front of the main stage for a mellow duet of "Never Say Goodbye," and were soon joined in their acoustic interlude by the other half of the group's core quartet, drummer Tico Torres and keyboard player David Bryan, who splashed accordion swatches across a springy take on the Who's "Squeeze Box."
The closest Bon Jovi came to reminding the audience of his 48 years was when he called for a return to 1984 as prelude to the group's early hit "Runaway," though even there he posed and pointed like a man half his age. The group's enduring popularity showed in the warm reception given its lively set closer, the bounding 2006 hit "Who Says You Can't Go Home." After peppering that tune's lyrics, Bon Jovi took a more patient angle on "Wanted Dead or Alive," milking its ode to the rock life for more than it was worth.
The show closed with an enthusiastic ascent into the robust "Livin' on a Prayer," hauling out a chapter from the group's hair band past without getting mired in it.
Local band Columbia Fields - its four members hail from Hebron - won a radio station contest that earned them the night's opening slot, which it filled with half an hour of melodic, lightly jam-based rock from the Dave Matthews handbook, typified by the sturdy flow of "Wake Me Up."
Bon Jovi performs at Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are $195 and $125. Information: 888-226-7711.
Bon Jovi's Friday set list: "Happy Now," "We Weren't Born to Follow," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Lost Highway," "In These Arms," "Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars," "The Radio Saved my Life Tonight," "When we Were Beautiful," "Superman Tonight," "We Got it Goin' On," "Bad Medicine/Roadhouse Blues," "It's My Life," "Lay Your Hands on Me," "(You Want to) Make a Memory," "Never Say Goodbye," "Squeezebox," "Something for the Pain," "Runaway," "Work for the Working Man," "Who Says You Can't go Home," (Encore) "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Livin' on a Prayer."
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