Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
London Wembley Stadium
...quite bearable, until they do the first of their schlock power ballads...
"They're gonna have to come through me first if they wanna knock this place down," screams Jon butchly, as the band take to the immense stage and start thrashing out, wait for it, a cover of 'London Calling' by The Clash. The crowd absolutely love it, while in the media pig pen everyone suddenly reaches for their mobiles to call friends so they can share this moment of insanity.
Next up are 'Livin' On A Prayer' and 'Keep The Faith', where the Jovi take the blue-collar heroism of fellow New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen out shopping for stone-washed dreams and sawn-off T-shirts. They might now be |ber-celebrities, but guitarist Richie Sambora still plays the songs with the heroism they deserve.
It's also quite bearable, until they do the first of their schlock power ballads. Songs like 'Bed Of Roses' dribble on interminably, and a quick glance reveals hundreds of lighters burning into the night. It's a reminder that Bon Jovi remain the ultimate in electric entertainment for the legions of people who drive sensible cars, have shampoo brand loyalty and like their music like they like their DIY products.
They might be impossibly glossy and impossibly naff, but while the simpering Travis headline V2000 at Chelmsford, at least we get some proper Hollywood rock'n'roll. Quite literally actually, as superstar Bruce Willis joins in with the proceedings. With the absence of a major terrorist incident to sort out Die Hard-style, he staggers onstage to play guitar and sings backing vocals with Jon on 'Twist And Shout'.
They end with Jon Bon Jovi testifying, "There are no sins in the church of rock'n'roll, all you gotta do is believe," before they play out with the bloated ego-maniac ballad 'Wanted Dead Or Alive'. Tonight was a chilling example of the power of music not to stimulate your mind or offer any artistic profundity, but to purely entertain. High concept and slickly packaged. Next time they're gonna need a bigger stadium.
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