The coronavirus pandemic continues to keep many rock concerts at bay, but one of the biggest acts is taking advantage of the situation by recording a show and broadcasting it to drive-in theaters. This week, Bon Jovi became the latest big-name act to record a live show and bring it to audiences who are sitting in their cars instead of standing in front of the stage. The concert, filmed at the Paramount Theatre in New Jersey, was shown Saturday evening to sold-out crowds as some drive-ins added a second showing. It was a well-produced and excellent audio concert film that gave fans a taste of seeing the band in person even if they didn’t get to see it in 3D.
As the show progressed, Bon Jovi sounded tight, with drummer Tico Torres and bassist Hugh McDonald providing solid backbone and Jon Bon Jovi delivering a powerful vocal performance. He may not have the pipes of his hair-metal heyday, but his voice was strong enough to deliver the hits that audiences paid to hear.
Jon Bon Jovi also introduced several songs by telling stories about their origins. He referred to the first time he played “Livin’ on a Prayer” and said he was “shocked and blown away” when it landed on the Billboard charts. He went on to tell the story about how he wrote it for his daughter Gianna, who had been battling leukemia at the time of its release.
The set list included a generous selection of anthems from the band’s latest album, 2020, as well as a number of other platinum-selling hits that had been part of the group’s oeuvre for years. The set list also included a handful of new songs, including a collaboration with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.
Bon Jovi has long understood that while audiences will tolerate a little bit of new music, they’re really there to holler for the copper-bottomed smashes of their 1980s heyday. So although the band has dabbled in country and written songs with dance-pop producer Max Martin, they’ve always been able to stay true to their roots.
Despite the smoky atmosphere in the theater, the audience was enthusiastic and seemed to be having a great time. One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Jon Bon Jovi introduced a run of acoustic songs midway through the concert. The band sounded good playing some of their more stripped-down material, but some of the songs missed their mark.
Bon Jovi’s 2024 tour promises to be bigger and better than past tours with a larger production, more pyrotechnics, and a perfect blend of classic hits and newer songs. You can find tickets for Bon Jovi’s upcoming shows on SeatGeek’s marketplace. Just select the venue where you want to go, choose the date and show time, and follow the link to purchase your tickets. Just be sure to arrive early and check the venue’s bag policy before you leave home. Then, be prepared to sing along loudly and have a blast!