Bon Jovi’s final UK date for their 2019 tour saw them roll up to the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, where they last played in 2008.
The crowd, a mix of middle-aged rockers and a new generation fans, were in good voice, putting those voices to good use in welcoming the supporting Manic Street Preachers to the stage. The Manics had less than an hour to warm up the crowd, but excellent renditions of ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and ‘You Love Us’ got them going, with James Bradfield impressing as usual with his vocals. By the time the Manics finished, the arena was pumping.
Bon Jovi entered the scene by bursting onto stage with ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’. It was the perfect start, being an instantly recognisable tune, and was brilliantly followed up by ‘Raise Your Hands’, another track from their seminal Slippery When Wet album.
Although these classics were getting the crowd going, it was apparent that Jon Bon Jovi’s voice was struggling, probably due to the grueling schedule of the international tour. That being said, he proved his worth as a skilled entertainer and never took his effort below 11; it was this energy that carried the crowd for the evening.
The title track of Bon Jovi’s new album, ‘This House Is Not For Sale’, was sung enthusiastically by the crowd, making it clear they were not just there for the classics. However, it was the classics that got the greatest roar. ‘Keep The Faith’, a song that divided fans back in 1992, had the entire Ricoh screaming “FAITH!” in time to the chorus, whilst each member of the band was given an opportunity to demonstrate their soloing skills, much to the delight of the crowd. However, it was the performance of ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ that made it seem like you could just put your arm out and grab a bit of the ’80s. JBJ played the iconic intro on his acoustic guitar and the crowd sang out the lyrics.
The main set ended with attitude – ‘Bad Medicine’ thumped out its beat as the sun was setting over Coventry. And with an encore that was completed by the brilliant ‘Living On A Prayer’, a song that almost didn’t make it onto Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi ended their UK tour and left their audience feeling quite satisfied.
Overall, this was a tight performance led by a brilliant rock veteran. Bon Jovi’s music has spanned generations of fans and it’s evident they are not tiring of it. If the band has future tours in them, I don’t think they’ll be a lack of fans demanding more.
Header photo taken by Bonnie Britain at Bon Jovi’s London Palladium release show for This House Is Not For Sale on October 10, 2016.