miércoles, 19 de mayo de 2010

Bon Jovi: Wembley Stadium

The Guardian, Monday August 21, 2000

Grotty Wembley Stadium is about to be replaced by a sexy new millennial edition, and the task of staging the old venue's last-ever gig fell, apparently randomly, to Bon Jovi. But as the show (sold out; who'd have thought the poodle-metal tycoons could still pull 60,000 customers a night?) unfolded, they seemed not so much a random choice as an apt way of saying goodbye to the era of monster stadium gigs and grown men in python leggings.

Jon Bon Jovi may have updated his image in the past few years, but the changes are only cosmetic. He's autumn/ winter 2000 in a Versace-ish gold suit, but underneath he's still J Bon Jovi of Arenarock Road, Tightpants, New Jersey. Sambora and leathery drummer Tico Torres are even less reconstructed. Together with the bassist and keyboardist who've grown into the label "the other two", they're a strutting, crowing bit of living history, hard rock as it was before it went on Prozac and began hanging out with rappers.

They're so assured that, after the opening cover of The Clash's London Calling, they dispense their most famous songs, Living on a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name. Anthemic doesn't begin to describe them. Wembley's walls only just contain the tornado created by the surge of frantic arms. It's a genuine rocktacular moment; nothing else approaches it. The rest of the long set is devoted to a lot of back catalogue and a little of the recent number one album, Crush.

Amazingly, Bon Jovi still get number ones, and the explanation is offered by the live performance. Not only do they explore their genre's not-very-extensive limits with just the right mix of maudlin ballads like Bed of Roses (cue lighters) and thunderous rockers, they meld them into a irresistible no-brainer stomp. Add Jon Bon's pert tush and you're looking at one formidable poodle-rock machine.

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