“Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story”

bon jovi

When it comes to big-haired ’80s rockers that have stood the test of time, Bon Jovi is one of the biggest. The New Jersey-based band has been cranking out hits and selling millions of albums since the dawn of hair mousse. And it returns to the Upstate, opening its new tour Feb. 8 in Greenville. But it wasn’t long ago that the “Livin’ on a Prayer” singer was worried about his career. He was preparing for a world tour, but his voice wasn’t the same. He couldn’t hit the high notes he needed, and his doctor told him one of his vocal cords was atrophy.

In an attempt to save his career, he had surgery. And it was at that low point that director Gotham Chopra caught up with him for the new four-part docuseries, “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story.”

This documentary isn’t as juicy as you might think. Anyone expecting a lot of backstabbing will be disappointed. Even major scandals, like the firing of founding bassist Alec John Such in 1994 and drummer Tico Torres’ stint in addiction treatment, are handled with a certain amount of restraint. But perhaps the most interesting moment in the series involves Sambora’s decision to leave the band midway through a world tour in 2013, despite having recorded with them for 30 years.

But Bon Jovi hasn’t given up on the music business, and the band recently announced that it would release its 16th album, Forever. And this year, the rock icon was honored at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala and performed for an audience for the first time after his surgery. He also performed at the Grammys in 2024 and will headline a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims next month.

In the docuseries, Bon Jovi talks candidly about his struggles with alcohol and drugs and his marriage to Dorothea McGhee. He also discusses his acting career, with appearances in Moonlight and Valentino, The Leading Man and a few independent films. And he’s clearly a hoarder, as viewers see him going through tapes of demos and lost tracks that are part of his archive.

With a healthy dose of self-deprecation and plenty of jokes about his weight, the series isn’t as bad as it could be. And fans who’ve heard enough of “Livin’ on a Prayer” might find themselves singing along. But only superfans will make it through the entire four-hour runtime. The rest will find it tedious.