Looking out into the audience at the Barrymore Theatre in New York City on Thursday night, Jon Bon Jovi couldn’t help but declare, “So here we are on Broadway — we finally made it to the big time!”
Bon Jovi lit up the Great White Way, concluding the fourth and final performance of the band’s new album, This House Is Not for Sale, with a show live-streamed on Tidal for fans checking out the action around the world.
In just a few short weeks since the band debuted the record at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, the new songs have taken on a life of their own in such a way that many songs — “Knockout,” “Rollercoaster,” “God Bless this Mess,” “New Year’s Day” and the title track — already feel like they will seamlessly blend into the set list on the 2017 North American tour. As he gets more comfortable with each performance, the Sayreville, New Jersey, native is hitting his stride, shadowboxing like a prize fighter and getting ready to deliver that knockout punch. “We Don’t Run” — originally included on the fan album Burning Bridges — is already being embraced just as wildly as “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
Joking that he was a man of culture — bringing his son Romeo to see Aladdin on Broadway — Bon Jovi explained his motivation to present the record from start to finish. “Albums meant something to me growing up,” he said, adding that each one had a “beginning, middle and end.”
Like the previous three shows, Bon Jovi wore his heart on his sleeve, telling the story of the album’s genesis. He shared how inspired he was after discovering Jerry Uelsmann’s striking image of a “proud house with deep roots” that was used as the album cover art and writing the title track to the journey through the “rebirth of the band,” as relayed through the song “New Year’s Day.” “[This] is the story of the people who have been on this journey with us for 33 years,” he said, explaining how fictional characters like Tommy and Gina from “Livin’ on a Prayer” have now become “you guys.”
As always, he thanked his fellow bandmates — drummer Tico Torres; keyboardist David Bryan (no stranger to Broadway, having won a Tony Award for the hit show Memphis); bassist Hugh McDonald, guitarist Phil X (who in a humorous moment, corrected the frontman about the timeline of when they first met; the early ‘90s, not the ‘80s); guitarist, producer and “shrink” John Shanks; and percussionist Everett Bradley. He even gave a shout-out to co-writer Billy Falcon, who was in attendance at the show, as well as his wife, Dorothea.
Once again, he addressed the tribulations of the last three years, including his well-publicized issues with his record label, surmising that “everything worked out” and “loyalty matters,” as he has lived his life on his terms with “one label, one band and one woman.”
Wrapping up the show with “No. 1 songs from No. 1 albums,” Bon Jovi amped up the room with a one-two punch of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “Bad Medicine” and a hope that the new album — set for release Nov. 4 — will do just as well. Judging by the reaction of the fans at the Barrymore, the future looks bright.