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Bon Jovi Takes Us Down Memory Lane

Bon Jovi / Goo Goo Dolls
United Center
Chicago, IL
Mar. 1, 2003
Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi gettin' close.
Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls

Review by Christine Hoffman
Photos by Niva Bringas

What is the undying attraction to this band? Bon Jovi has not produced any quality material in over a decade, but yet they attract fans, young and old, like Michael Jackson running to the nearest cosmetic surgeon. They have been selling out arenas all over the States, not because of their recent release Bounce, but perhaps fueled by VH1's incessant marketing of the band.
While Jon Bon Jovi's stage act is vintage 80s, the 41 year old can still make the hearts of the largely female audience at the United Center run a flutter. This reviewer included. Wearing a tight tan velvety button-down shirt, cut-off at the shoulders, to reveal his impressive gym membership and really tight fitting tan pants, he still struts and poses like a runway model wearing the latest Parisian fashion. His mane of golden locks, while not as impressive as in his heyday, still flows like a proud lion's mane. Richie Sambora, sporting a red Sgt. Peppers overcoat, still rides the chord changes with all of the gusto of a raging roller-coaster ride at Great America. On "Bad Medicine" the band flowed with the melodies as Jon took over with his smooth voice, which still sounds as good as it did 15 years ago. It was almost three hours of a rock 'n roll good time. The lower points came mostly courtesy of newer material like "Undivided" and "Misunderstand." The songs are simply not that well written. The high notes were found on all the hits like "Livin' On a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Runaway." Simply put the band is still capable of playing some great rock n' roll. Only problem is they have to keep taking that time machine back to the 1980s to deliver it.
Could anyone have picked a better opening act than the Goo Goo Dolls? They are the Bon Jovi of the 90s. Emphasizing style over substance, the Goo Goo Dolls spread their happy jams down with barely enough enthusiasm to keep the auduence's interest alive. The difference between the Dolls and Bon Jovi is in the delivery. While the Goo Goo Dolls go through the motions Bon Jovi at least believes in itself and it shows very clearly in their performance.
Lead singer Johnny Rzeznik and company rotely went through their hits as the audience obligingly and rather politely applauded. Let's hope that VH1 knows the difference and stays away from trying to resell the Goo Goo Dolls to a very gullible audience 10 years from now.

Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls
Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi

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