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Posted September 18, 2012 by Always Acoustic in Concert Reviews

Bon Jovi United Center Review

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
By Aaron Keker

UNITED CENTER, Chicago – “The Madhouse on Madison” Street was rocking the entire evening, not because of the second-seeded Bulls or the surging Blackhawks, but a New Jersey band called Bon Jovi.

If it was a professional sporting event against the New Jersey Nets or New Jersey Devils, the Chicago faithful would not be rooting for a New Jersey adversary. However, Bon Jovi had the entire United Center audience on their feet, singing along to every song and screaming profusely on this joyful Fat Tuesday.

The love and enthusiasm that the Chicago audience professed for Bon Jovi might actually make them consider establishing another residence in Chicago. It would be Jon’s third, besides New Jersey and New York. This fanaticism proved once again that Bon Jovi is one of the most entertaining rock bands in the last twenty-seven years!

Everyone felt like a kid in a candy store. Instead of countless candy to choose from, we were treated with one candy selection and that was Bon Jovi. I liked the idea that there was no opening band for Bon Jovi because it made the experience appear more intimate.

The 2011 Tour kicked off at the United Center in Chicago around 8:02 p.m. rather than the ticketed start of 7:30. An enormous jumbo-tron blocked a majority of the vision of the patrons on the floor, with the exception of the pit and upper sections, who graciously observed Bon Jovi’s grand entrance to an arousing ovation.

During the opening song of “Blood on Blood,” Jon remarked: “This isn’t television! Get up out of your seats!” The evening had begun.

Bon Jovi performed two of their first three songs from New Jersey in “Blood on Blood” and “Born to Be My Baby.” Around the middle of Bon Jovi’s set list, they performed “Bad Medicine,” “Lay Your Hands on Me” and “I’ll Be There for You.” And why not! New Jersey is Bon Jovi’s second most popular album behind Slippery When Wet. For those of you counting, New Jersey is 5x [5,000,000] Multi-Platinum short of catching Slippery and 3x [3,000,000] more from achieving Diamond status.

New Jersey was only five chapters of a twenty-three chapter story. The eighteen other chapters spanned every album with the exception of Bounce, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong, These Days and 7800° Fahrenheit. Although the two set lists from March 8th and July 30, 2010 at Soldier Field were similar, I was excited that Bon Jovi changed it up by performing “What Do You Got?,” “The More Things Change” and “No Apologies.” If I could have changed one song on the set list that evening, it would have been “This is Our House” rather than “The More Things Change.” Nevertheless, I was delighted to finally hear the new material live.

Besides the audience screaming profusely the entire evening, which Jon remarked: “I come back to Chicago and that is for one reason, to hear you scream,” there was a suit dancing in the aisles during “No Apologies.”

Instead of countless candy to choose from, we were treated with one candy selection and that was Bon Jovi.

The suit was not the only one dancing. I am paraphrasing Jon Bon Jovi’s comment, but it basically goes “You didn’t come to hear me talk. You came to see me shaking you know what.” Jon Bon Jovi conducted a few dance moves, but he was animated too.

As Bon Jovi performed “It’s My Life,” Jon raised his hands like he was riding a roller coaster. He moved them up and down and the audience proceeded to raise their hands as if they were riding the same roller coaster with Jon. The thrill ride continued on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” too.

Jon even used his charm when he raised his eyebrow to the crowd for a reaction on “Whole Lot of Leavin’.” When the audience reacted, Richie remarked: “You got it!”

Everyone knows when Jon Bon Jovi vanishes for a song, Richie Sambora will sing and Jon will appear somewhere else in the arena. As Jon proceeded to introduce Richie Sambora as “guitar extraordinaire and best friend,” he vanished and Richie sang “Lay Your Hands on Me.”

Unfortunately, I was disappointed that Jon repeated his vanishing act by appearing at the center stage of the catwalk like he did at Soldier Field on July 30th.  I would have rather seen Bon Jovi shake it up a little bit and have Jon appear somewhere else in the arena. Similar to when Jon performed left side of the stage perspective at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 21, 2008. If Jon shook it up like he shook his body, women would be fainting all over the aisles over the rocker.

Jon performed with an acoustic guitar at the center catwalk on “(You Want To) Make a Memory” and “What Do You Got?” Richie joined Jon on “I’ll Be There for You” and they both returned to the main stage on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

The moment Jon Bon Jovi thought he might be losing the audience’s attention, Bon Jovi performed a Roy Orbison cover of “Oh, Pretty Woman” and The Rolling Stones cover of “Start Me Up.”

There was an unfortunate event that occurred as Bon Jovi performed “Runaway,” and that was an older gentleman slipped down the steps and spilled his beer. Luckily, he appeared to be uninjured and I can’t confirm this, but he may have even received a replacement beer.

The last two years of covering Bon Jovi in Chicago have been extremely memorable from Bon Jovi’s unforgettable performances to the audiences’ outstanding and loving enthusiasm for the New Jersey rockers.  As “Livin’ on a Prayer” concluded, the band bowed and Jon made an expression as if he was tired. The easiest part of Jon’s evening concluded, which is being a rocker by night, but the difficult road was ahead because his daytime Dad role was to check in with his wife to find out the status on his son’s 102° fever. Hopefully, Jon’s son felt better the moment Dad talked to his son.

United Center Set List:

1. “Blood on Blood”
2. “You Give Love a Bad Name”
3. ”Born to Be My Baby”
4. “We Weren’t Born to Follow”
5. “Lost Highway”
6. “Whole Lot of Leavin’”
7. “It’s My Life”
8. “Runaway”
9. “The More Things Change”
10. “We Got it Going On”
11. “Bad Medicine” / “Oh, Pretty Woman”
12. “Lay Your Hands on Me”
13. “(You Want To) Make a Memory”
14. “What Do You Got?”
15. “I’ll Be There for You”
16. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”
17. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” / “Start Me Up”
18. “No Apologies”
19. “Have a Nice Day”
20. “Keep the Faith”


21. “Wanted Dead or Alive”
22. “I Love This Town”
23. “Livin’ on a Prayer”