Bon Jovi in Cleveland, OH - photo credit: Charlie Meister

Bon Jovi at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH

Bon Jovi is once again touring North America in support of their latest album, This House Is Not For Sale. This album marks the first proper release since the departure of founding guitarist Richie Sambora back in early 2013. They rolled through Cleveland, OH, a town that’s waited a solid four years since the last time Bon Jovi has performed there.

As is always the case, the band never relies too heavily on their classics when delivering their live set. This new iteration was no exception. They opened the night with the title track from their new release, and immediately followed up with another new track, “Knockout,” before treating fans to one of their biggest hits, “You Give Love A Bad Name.” From this point forward, Bon Jovi continued with a great mix of classics along with a generous dose of tracks from the current album, as well as their past several releases.

It’s always a toss-up whether a band is better served to just ignore the small talk and stick to their music versus trying to connect with the crowd. Jon Bon Jovi has mastered this art. Having attended shows dating back to well over a decade ago, the frontman has a special ability to relate to his audience. He usually tells a great story about each city that connects well with the crowd in such a way that the farthest fan in attendance could feel like he’s talking directly to them. Tonight, Jon did that before introducing “Work For the Working Man.” He discussed the inspiration of that song coming from the closing of a Wilmington, OH DHL hub, costing the town 7,000 jobs.

He later discussed the band’s rebirth, which took place during the early writing phase of this album back in 2015. Jon digressed into a fairly long talk about the journey the band has been on over the years, where he thanked their fans for sticking with them. Once again, his words were delivered with a sincerity that few other performers could achieve.

In regards to the bands rebirth, it’s important to note the significant lineup change since the last album and tour. Richie Sambora left the band in early 2013, when the band placed a call to Greek-Canadian guitarist Phil X (Philip Eric Xenidis) to step in. Begrudgingly, it’s safe to admit that the band hasn’t lost a beat with this change. Phil brings both an energetic stage presence and a consistent studio sound on guitar.

After a well-balanced set of old and new, Bon Jovi finished the home stretch with a run of some of their biggest hits such as “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “Have a Nice Day,” “Bad Medicine” and “Keep the Faith” before closing out the evening with “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

If you’ve never seen Bon Jovi live, or if you’re wondering whether they can still deliver the energetic live show you may have seen a decade or more prior, wonder no more. This band is made to perform, and it’s evident that they enjoy every bit as much as they ever have.

On this tour, Bon Jovi is making each show available to purchase online in both MP3 or FLAC formats for $12.99 and $16.99 respectively.

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Text and photos by Charlie Meister

*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.