Reviews – Bon Jovi’s Because We Can tour @ Etihad Stadium 08/12/2013

Spanning over 102 shows worldwide, 80s rock legends Bon Jovi performed their second Melbourne show during the tail end of the Because We Can tour.

As part of the Telstra Road To Discovery competition, winner Jesse Teinaki and a backing band were privileged to open the night with a mere ten-minute set. Despite this short set the singer/songwriter was impressive to listen to.

Most well-known for marrying Pamela Anderson multiple times and stepping up a decade from the main attraction, 90s American rocker Kid Rock and a backing band including singers and a saxophone player followed on as the main support for the night.

Punters were obviously not so keen on checking Kid Rock out as the stadium was half-filled despite magically filling up to capacity prior to the main attractions 8pm start.

Despite the lack of audience and personally not really knowing anything about the artist or his music, I thought Kid Rock was a joy to watch. Introduced by his name in flames on the screens set either side of the stage, Kid Rock entered the stage whilst Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ blasted through the speakers.

The cowboy hat wearing vocalist attempted to impress the crowd with his multi-instrument playing of piano, tambourine, guitar and even DJing! The most entertaining part of his set was when he lit and smoked a cigar while manning the decks, proceeding to pour himself a bourbon then sat on the deck. However, I sat there thinking “Does anyone actually know any of his music?”

Led by namesake and frontman Jon Bon Jovi adorned in tight blue jeans and an American flag denim jacket, the 80s rockers (minus Richie Sambora and plus session guitarist Phil X) soldiered on for a near three hour set.

The stage, that was far too small in size, was shaped like a classic American car towering over the stage and the band. The back wall of the stage was adorned with LCD screens and above the car multiple screens interspersed a windshield with the car ‘driving’ through picturesque scenery’s, with live shots and video of the band. Two headlights on each side of the car beamed different images throughout the night.

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The car

Photograph by Lillian Altman

The audience were treated to the rock classics they’d normally find themselves singing drunkenly along to in the pub with the second track in being the heartbreaking anthemic You Give Love a Bad Name. At this point John’s vocals already sounded a bit strained, but a couple of tracks  later his voice warmed up and the signs of struggling melted away.

A fistful of ballads were thrown in amongst the rock, including ‘Amen’ and ‘Diamond Ring’.

Having banded together thirty years ago, give or take a couple of years due to hiatus’, the band performed nearly as many songs as the years they’ve been together with the set split between old and new including tracks from What About Now, released in March this year.

The main section of the show finished off with the catchy sing along ”ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ and ‘Bad Medicine’ mashed with an epic array of classics; The Rolling Stones ‘Start Me Up’, AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me (All Night Long)’Surfaris ‘Wipe Out’ and the covered and covered again The Isley Brother’s ‘Shout’.

Swapping over to a leather jacket, Jovi led the band into the encore with the epic near ten minute track ‘Bad County’ and finishing off with ‘Livin’ On a Prayer‘.

Despite being so far away from the stage – having purchased the ticket to the show on a whim because there were tickets available at a dirt cheap price – and having to watch the screens for the majority of the show, I became a new-found fan of the band and learnt that they’re not all just about pub rock and can sing songs that could melt any girls heart.

Many fans left on a high as they unanimously sang along with the busker outside the NAB building as they headed to Southern Cross station to head home.

Bon Jovi and his fans
Bon Jovi and his fans

Photograph by Lillian Altman

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