Bon Jovi / July 12, 2008 / New York (Central Park)
Bon Jovi madness took over New York's Central Park on July 12. Tens of thousands of people converged upon the park's Great Lawn for the Jersey boys’ big show, held in coordination with the Major LBon Jovi madness took over New York's Central Park on July 12. Tens of thousands of people converged upon the park's Great Lawn for the Jersey boys’ big show, held in coordination with the Major League All-Star Game, and though technically it was a "free" concert, some die-hard fans were rumored to have paid up to $1500 for scalped tickets.
The truly committed had been camped out since Friday night to secure a good spot. As the show got underway, the area directly in front of the huge stage was covered with spread-out blankets, empty food wrappers, bottles of water and more "Mrs. Bon Jovi" T-shirts than could be counted. These folks weren't messing around, they were in it for the long haul, and the band thanked them for their dedication with a nothing-but-hits set that got even the crankiest of over-heated fans to sing and fist-pump along.
The Central Park show was one of Bon Jovi's last on its current Lost Highway tour (which wraps up with a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden July 14 and 15), but the band didn't appear to be running out of steam. Kicking off with the one-two punch of "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name," the group delivered exactly the kind of high-energy performance the crowd wanted. Jon Bon Jovi, 46, looked as young and fresh-faced as ever, with his pearly whites, bare chest and point-and-gaze-into-the-crowd gestures making fans young and old swoon.
Guitarist Richie Sambora didn't miss a step either. Sporting a series of ornate jackets, he shredded through solos on the likes of "Lost Highway," "We Got it Goin On" and "Always," and offering vocals on "I'll be There for You."
Except for the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" and "Shout" peppered in during "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" and "Bad Medicine," respectively, the set almost felt a little too predictable at times, but it was still a lot of fun.
For the three-song encore, which started out with hits "Always” and "Wanted Dead or Alive" before closing out with the fitting "I Love This Town," Jon Bon Jovi looked slightly fatigued, and one couldn't help but detect a hint of smugness when he claimed they were just getting warmed up but had to stop because of the park's 10 p.m. curfew. For the most part, the band did seem to be rightly enjoying themselves, and Bon Jovi did make history: By playing the Great Lawn, the band accomplished something "that the Beatles and the Stones never did." Rock on.
Here is Bon Jovi's Central Park Set:
“Livin’ on a Prayer”
“You Give Love a Bad Name”
“Born to be My Baby”
“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”
“Blaze of Glory”
“Whole Lot of Leaving”
“In These Arms”
“We Got it Going On”
“It’s My Life”
“I’ll Be There for You”
“Have a Nice Day”
“Keep the Faith”
“Who Says You Can’t Go Home”
“Wanted Dead or Alive”
“I Love This Town”