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Home / Latest News / Bon Jovi Cardiff Review: He came, he sang, he rocked

Bon Jovi Cardiff Review: He came, he sang, he rocked

A rock behemoth rolled into town when Bon Jovi took to the stage in Cardiff. They’ve conquered half the world already on their huge ‘Because We Can’ tour, and with thousands of adoring women in tow, they conquered Wales… well at least the female population anyway.

It may be 30 years since the American band formed in New Jersey, but the massive guitar riffs and cheesy lyrics they made their name with as part of the ‘hair metal’ scene of the ’80s were all present and correct when the four-piece hit the Cardiff City Stadium in Leckwith.

The band may not have been as bedecked in denim or backcombed to coiffure perfection as in the old days, but what they lacked in sartorial crimes and hairspray, they more than made up for with sheer enthusiasm.

“Cardiff, what a beautiful Wednesday night, are you with me out there?” Jon Bon Jovi addressed the gathered thousands early on, to a roar of adoration.

“Get out of your seats and let me know you’re with me,” he shouted, at which point the band launches into You Give Love a Bad Name.

This year’s Because We Can world tour is visiting five continents, and from the audience’s reaction, it looked like their first concert in Wales since 2001 definitely had to be up there with the best of this year’s 91 shows.

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The rock cowboys packed their bags for the first Because We Can show in Washington DC on February 10 and they’ll keep on rolling on until December 17, when they can finally rest their weary heads in Brisbane, Australia.

Despite Cardiff’s show coming at roughly the mid-point, Jon was a frontman inspired, offering his trademark cheeky grin to a stadium packed with fans and serenading the enchanted crowd with the band’s well-worn tales of the land of the free.

This wasn’t about subtlety or taste by any means – the stage setting was the front grill of a giant 1959 Buick Electra, looking for all the world like it was ready to hit Route 66 – but when belting out old favourites like You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ On A Prayer and the thoroughly corny Bad Medicine, it’s all a part of the Bon Jovi act, and Jon’s nothing if not a pro, shouting, “it’s good to be out of England and in to Wales” to the devoted masses.

In fact, the stage show was just about as American as possible, with the Buick, the leather and the brash rock songs of yesteryear, the only things required to make it more American were pyrotechnics and monster trucks.

Even the word ‘Cardiff’ was emblazoned across the stage in flames on a giant LCD screen just to remind us where we were.

As a 51-year-old rocker, more than half of Jon’s life has been spent spellbinding audiences like this one.

With 12 albums to choose from, the setlist featured a collection of classics and material off the new album, What About Now, and it seemed to be the right mix.

For die-hard fans something was missing in the shape of founding member and guitarist Richie Sambora, who has helped them sell more than 135 million albums with his songwriting and playing. Absent from this leg of the tour thanks to ‘personal reasons’, he’s prompted concerns about the band’s future. But although for some it was strange seeing Jon without his stalwart companion, replaced here by Phil X, the overriding focus was on the all-out rock performance.

Bon Jovi may never have been the coolest or the edgiest of bands, but with a back catalogue of radio-friendly hits and the rock star frontman to end them all, they brought a whiff of the big country to Cardiff for one night only.

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