Review: Bon Jovi – Live in the Park at Botanic Park, Adelaide (Glam Adelaide)

By Jonathan Tonkin

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Thirty-five years. Thirteen albums. Countless hits and infinite memories. Bon Jovi for the longest time have been rock gods and on December 4, Botanic Park in Adelaide got to feel that power and greatness take the stage yet again.

Bon Jovi returned for their This House Is Not for Sale tour. Their latest album which came out in 2016 made waves back in the US and continues to prove Bon Jovi’s versatility and longevity. Bon Jovi are no fools though and still know how to put on a show for the ages, 35 years later.

Opening for Bon Jovi was Birds of Tokyo, the popular Australian band who can headline int heir own right, but for tonight, they were a great warm up for what was to be an explosive gig.

Which brought us to the main act, which had the birds, trees and all the people buzzing with excitement. The man, the legend, Jon Bon Jovi.

Wanting to promote their new album, Bon Jovi played quite a few tracks from The House Is Not for Sale which were still great moments in the night. With amazing visuals and ecstatic energy Bon Jovi manages to hold the crowd in even with the lesser known songs. This House Is Not for Sale, God Bless This Mess and other new tracks peppered the set list with fans still eating it up due to Jon Bon Jovi’s presence and charisma. Knowing his audience, it wasn’t long until he jumped into You Give Love a Bad Name. The joy and elation was palpable. Young, old, even babies made the trip to see what a god could do with a stage and a microphone.

Photo by Lisa Vincent

Jon Bon Jovi himself is 56-years-old. Not that anyone there would be able to tell. Taking command of the stage, he still has the spirit and character to dominate a performance and each track was delivered with love and passion. Guitarists Phil X and John Shanks unleashed face-melting solos with every ballad. Drummer and Bon Jovi original Tico Torres played with such intensity that it’s a wonder how his drum kit survived. This was rock anthem heaven.

Jon Bon Jovi took a moment to recognise a couple of masked brothers who were in the crowd and had just that day saw the sentencing of their childhood abuser at the Adelaide District Court. It was only fitting that after honouring the pair he dedicated the next song to them and jumped straight into It’s My Life. The song is given an even more compelling meaning by the recent events.

Bon Jovi continued to perform, producing a set which was easily over two hours, including incredible moments like a rendition of Bad Medicine which went for at least 15 minutes as Jon Bon Jovi refused to allow the band to stop, jumping from chorus to solo, again and again and again. 

Photo by Lisa Vincent

Word of warning for anyone attending future Live in the Park events – get a seated ticket if you can. Otherwise get there an hour or so before the opening act to reserve yourself spot. The venue being what it is, it is easy to get stuck behind a tree if you don’t plan ahead.

With that said this show was still all out unbelievable for everyone. Regardless of where you were in the crowd, how old you were or what songs are your favourites. Bon Jovi had everyone singing to every single line. At 56-years-old with a career spanning 35 years there is still nothing in this world quite like seeing Jon Bon Jovi live. After rocking the Adelaide crowd for over two hours it was only fitting that they finished with Livin’ on a Prayer and with that went the best performers Adelaide has ever seen.

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