Jon Bon Jovi and Friends – Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Written by on May 24, 2012 in Live Reviews, May 24, 2012 - Comments Off on Jon Bon Jovi and Friends – Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Jon Bon Jovi and Friends – Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas) – Saturday, April 28th

I’ve seen Bon Jovi almost 40 times throughout their career, but I’ve never anything like this. I had been looking forward to this show for a while, and wondered, who his “Friends” were, and what songs they would play. I had a few ideas on both, but the band, the set list, and the show, more than exceeded my expectations!

Excitement built as the musicians started to fill the stage. There were two drummers, two guitarists, a bass player, keyboard player, a violinist, back-up singer, and even a horn section. I counted 12 musicians all together. The only two I recognized were touring guitarist, Bobby Bandiera, and violinist Lorenza Ponce, who I have seen perform with Bon Jovi several times.

This was the first time I have ever seen Jon Bon Jovi start out a show with a cover song. The first song of the night was “Rock N’ Roll Star” by The Byrds, and this set the pace for the entire show. They alternated between Bon Jovi songs and cover songs throughout the night, playing nine Bon Jovi songs and 13 covers total.

Jon introduced us to his back-up singer, Layonne Holmes, and then stepped away from the vocals while she gave us for a heartfelt, soulful performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” I think I died and went to heaven when Jon sang “I’m Your Man.” And I know I wasn’t the only one!

You can see it for yourself right here:

Jon didn’t waste a minute after this sensuous ballad, before getting the crowd pumping and dancing again with Bob Segar’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

Then it was time for a few back-to-back Bon Jovi songs. “We Weren’t Born to Follow” was amazing, “Just Older” from “Crush” CD has always been one of my favorite songs. And it’s funny that there’s a line in the song that he changes the words to now. It used to say ‘I’ve cut my hair,’ and now he says ‘I’ve got my hair.’

I was surprised to hear the ‘Bon Jovi National Anthem,’ “Wanted Dead or Alive,” right after classic song “Livin’ on a Prayer.” It seemed a bit early, since it’s known for being part of the encore, and I was scared for a second that the show may already be coming to a close. But I knew better…. I’ve only seen Jon Bon Jovi perform this song one other time without Richie Sambora on guitar/backing vocals, and it seemed to miss something. Tonight, however, Bobby Banderia did such a phenomenal job I think Richie himself would have been proud.

I always say that “Jon Bon Jovi has the formula down.” He knows exactly how to work a crowd, and make sure every person, from the front to the back, has a good time. This time he kept the formula, but changed the format.  And it still worked like a charm. I always dreamed that I would someday get to see Bon Jovi do a show like this and I am so thankful I was able to experience it. Please see below for their complete set list and band members.

Keep Rockin’
Aiison “MetalBabe” Cohen

The Set List: Rock N’ Roll Star You give Love a Bad Name House Party Pretty Woman Lost Highway Chain of Fools I’m Your Man Bad Medicine Old Time Rock and Roll We Weren’t Born to Follow Just Older Wanted Dead or Alive Under Pressure Sympathy For the Devil Start Me Up Baba O’Reilly Sleep When I’m Dead The Letter Who Says You Can’t Go Home Encore: Hallelujah  6345789

The Band: Jon Bon Jovi Bobby Banderia Lorenza Ponce Tommy Meares Layonne Holmes Doug DeHays Rich Scannella Jim Celestino Tommy LeBella Joe Bellia Graham Maby John Berry