Photographs by Randall Vasquez.
Bon Jovi performed the first of two back to back sold out shows recently at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This show marked the 18th time they’ve performed at this particular venue, which has a capacity of nearly 20000 people. Eager fans were even seated at the backside of the stage, obstructed by an occasional screen displaying graphics of an old house. Heart throb Jon Bon Jovi referring to these particular spectators, stated that he hoped they didn’t mind looking at his butt for two hours. The crowd erupted in cheers.
There was concerns that these two shows may have been postponed due to Jon contracting Bronchitis, forcing the cancellation of two shows in New York just days earlier. However the concert went on as scheduled. Although he was not 100% recovered, Jon opted to sing lower octives for certain parts. As the show progressed his vocals declined, yet he maintained a huge smile and had a stage presence that was quite impressive. During the 2nd song of the encore “Wanted Dead or Alive” he handed the lead vocals to guitarist Phil X. Phil sang and it was obvious that this was an unplanned event, since his mic was mixed at a back up level instead of lead. However this was quickly rectified.
Although I had previously seen live performances of Bon Jovi on TV, I think I was quite surprised to hear the studio recorded quality of the live show. Although not 100% original members, the musicianship of these fellows was like a well oiled machine. Having seen well over 200 bands last year alone, I can easily say that this is the tightest band I have ever seen as a concert goer. It was really quite impressive.
A proud Toronto moment was when Mississauga native Phil X was introduced. The crowd went absolutely wild. Phil is known by a lot of local people, as he would host jam nights and in his early days toured with the Canadian act Frozen Ghost. I admit not having seen him perform in at least 20 years, but the performance he put on that night was spectacular, from the quality of his playing to his stage performance. It makes me smile to see that he has progressed to this level and the crowd was certainly excited to see how far he has come.
One thing I appreciated about this show was the clean lighting. The show wasn’t based on stage theatrics or fancy lighting, but the bare bones of great music.
It was rather fun to see the crowd participate during the hit songs such as “Shot Through The Heart” “Bad Medicine” and of course the pinnacle hit “Living On A Prayer”. The decibel levels certainly climbed, sometimes even over shadowing Jon’s vocals. But he didn’t seem to mind, it gave his vocals a break.
In conclusion, even though Jon wasn’t in super fine form vocally, it was still an incredible show to witness. The girly teenage fan girl that came out in me was appreciative, such as the other 19999 other attendees that evening.