Bon Jovi Returns to Birmingham with A Vengeance


It’s been 28 years and three days since Bon Jovi last stepped foot in the Magic City, but who’s counting? Apparently front man Jon Bon Jovi is. The 54-year-old singer reminded the sold-out crowd at the BJCC that the band hadn’t been at the venue since their Slippery When Wet tour in 1986.  Almost three decades and ten albums later, Bon Jovi is far from living on a prayer.


Last February, the nine-time Grammy Award-winning band returned to Birmingham for their “This House is Not for Sale” tour, promoting the release of their thirteenth studio album. The stop also served as the Alabama debut of Bon Jovi’s newest members, bassist Hugh McDonald and Phil X, who recently replaced Richie Sambora as lead guitarist. Shortly after 8:30 P.M., the Legacy Arena went pitch black and filled with waves of applause. Surrounding the stage, a thin, billboard-sized backdrop illuminated with a series of white lines scrambling across the screen, ultimately leading to the album’s signature look, a large-rooted tree with a rustic house atop it.


Emerging from the thin veil, Bon Jovi and company launched into the titular “This House is Not for Sale” and “Knockout.” The front man then took time to reflect on the large gap since the band’s last visit in the Magic City, citing that many of his newer fans weren’t even born yet before performing notable hit “You Give Love a Bad Name.”


The almost 150-minute show covered a wide spectrum of the band’s 28-year-career that the lead singer joked had more hits than the Sopranos, the titular mob family from HBO’s show of the same name.

The band then kicked off the second half of the concert with “It’s My Life”, “God Bless This Mess” and “The Devil’s in the Temple” before engaging in a small dialogue with the audience.  Getting personal for a minute, [Jon] Bon Jovi talked about the emotional process of creating “This House Is Not for Sale,” the band’s first full-length album in two years, and launched into the acoustic ballad “Scars on this Guitar.”


After “ending” the show with “Have a Nice Day”, “Bad Medicine” and “Keep the Faith”, the five-man group departed the stage, leaving the crowd yearning for more. After cruising through a 21-song catalogue, there were only a handful of hits that the band didn’t cover.


Naturally, Bon Jovi saved the best for last, returning to the stage for a three-song encore, starting with 1994’s “Always”. Taking it back to their Slippery When Wet Album days, Bon Jovi performed “Wanted Dead or Alive,” a top-selling hit when they were last in Birmingham. The band then closed with a very crowd-infused version of “Living on a Prayer.”


Alabama-based group Sweet Tea Trio opened up for the multi-Grammy Award Winning group. The young, Country ensemble comprised of Savannah Coker, Kate Falcon and Victoria Camp, were winners of the band’s local opening act contest. Voted “Best Country Female Artist” at the 2016 Alabama Music Awards, the trio have been compared to The Dixie Chicks and The Pistol Annies.


Though the years have passed, Bon Jovi’s fans welcomed them back with open arms. Hopefully, it won’t take another thirty years to see them again.

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