Friday, December 10, 2010

Melbourne Review

ONE of the most amusing books this holiday season is Things Bogans Like. Like the blog of the same name, it deftly details the likes and cultural touchstones of a significant number of Australians.

Last night at Rod Laver Arena, a good number of the 16,000 in attendance could safely be described as either the book's targets or target market. And based on the hysteria Jon Bon Jovi and his bandmates from New Jersey generated, that was just fine.

As for mullets, tight jeans, bourbon (in a hip flask) and leather worn proudly by band and fans alike, well, that was simply the order of the day.

This was a shamelessly old-fashioned set of stadium-sized rock. Last night's show, which sold out in 10 minutes, was packed with power ballads, anthems and cliched rock moves.

Jon Bon Jovi, the irrepressible band leader, wore a black sleeveless leather vest with ample room to display his well-sculpted pecs. Playing second fiddle was gregarious (and hirsute) guitarist Richie Sambora.

And all of the band doggedly insist on persisting with hairstyles best left behind two decades ago. Yet it's impossible to dismiss the band as anything but relentlessly energetic entertainers. These are master craftsman of meat-and-potatoes rock. After all, their current single, played last night, is called No Apologies.

Their arsenal of hits - You Give Love A Bad Name, It's My Life, Born To Be My Baby, Keep The Faith, In These Arms, Wanted Dead or Alive - provided ample ammunition for an ecstatic audience.

Last night's crowd, while gleefully flying the ''b'' flag, was surprisingly youthful. Many fans were not yet conceived when Bon Jovi broke through with the album Slippery When Wet in the mid-1980s.

Although ostensibly on a greatest hits tour, there were perhaps a few too many ''newer'' songs served up for the casual fan. Yet the in-the-round staging and multitude of video screens meant fans were hardly bored.

In fact, the frontman had to do little more than flex his muscles or smile to generate thousands of screams.

Describing the show as a warm-up for their huge gig tonight at Etihad Stadium, Bon Jovi was earnest in promising fans more than two hours of entertainment. There was even a well-timed cover of Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman midway through Bad Medicine.

The final song was, as at every show, the world's best karaoke moment: Livin' On A Prayer. No matter what pop culture stereotype you brand it, last night was lots of fun.

~ Hath

PS: Don't forget, that the Etihad Stadium gig will be partially webcast. We can still hope they forget to turn off the feed....



Michael S December 10, 2010 at 6:24 PM  

Hi Hath,

Your post title is wrong, Jovi don't play in Brisbane until next Tuesday (I know because I can't wait to be there!). Rod Laver Arena is in Melbourne :)

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