REVIEW: All these years on, I'm still happy to be Living on a Prayer ...
Ok, confessions time - I love 80s rock; the spandex, the poodle perms, screaming guitar solos, keyboards, anthems we know all the words to, and a golden age of power ballads. Not many musicians could match Jon Bon Jovi’s mid-80s perm, and hardly anyone could rival his band’s status as the kings of stadium rock.
Today, Bon Jovi are still touring - they sold out Wembley Stadium earlier this month - but if you couldn’t get (or afford) a ticket then the BJE’s performance at The Kings underlined their claim that their experience is the next best thing.
Tony (as JBJ sans perm) might have overdone the ‘you having a good time?’ questions to a highly appreciative audience, but there was no doubting the quality of classics such as You Give Love a Bad Name, Dead or Alive (one of the best songs of the entire 80s, regardless of genre), Runaway, It’s My Life, Bed of Roses and (inevitably, the encore) the perennially fabulous Living on a Prayer. If you can’t get excited about singing the ‘woah, we’re halfway there’ chorus at the top of your voice, you seriously need to get out more. The BJE guys must have a lot of fun playing these songs all the time to crowds all to eager to sing along with them.
There was not enough time for all the classics – Bon Jovi’s back catalogue stretches back over 35 years and 14 studio albums – but still easily enough to leave me with a sore throat when I woke up this morning. The bottom line to any gig is this: do the band/singer leave you wanting to see them again? Here, the answer is an overwhelming ‘yes’.
The music landscape is totally different to 30 years ago - Bon Jovi albums don’t sell over 28 million copies anymore, unlike the commercial juggernaut Slippery When Wet - but this great two-and-a-bit-hour show happily illustrated I’m not alone in still loving 80s rock.
And no-one should be surprised at that. After all, anyone who was a teenager in the mid-1980s has a little bit of Tommy and Gina in them.
Privately, you know you do …