Bon Jovi plays Verizon Arena Friday.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $34-$160.
There was a funny time back in, oh, let's call it 1984-1987, when bands like Europe and Poison and Warrant and Skid Row and Winger and White Lion and Cinderella and Britny Fox and Trixter and Def Leppard and Ratt and Motley Crue and Guns 'N Roses and the like were widely described as "heavy metal" bands. Of course, they weren't (and were subsequently and unfairly dubbed "hair metal"). They were all basically pop/rock bands that had nicked some guitar licks and maybe some sartorial cues off of the New York Dolls.
Out of all of those many big-haired, tight-jeaned rock 'n' rollers, I would not have guessed that Jersey's finest, Bon Jovi
, would be the ones to go the long haul, outlasting the trend and still going on arena tours and raking in the big bucks 20-25 years after most of their peers had either succumbed to near cartoonish levels of debauchery (Crue) or simply become relics (most of the rest of them).
Going back to listen to some of Bon Jovi's hits, it makes sense to me now. They just wrote better, bigger, catchier, more anthemic and us-against-the-world-ier songs than most of their competition. Seriously, go listen to "Livin' on a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Bad Medicine," "Wanted Dead or Alive," or "Blaze of Glory" (granted, that last one is technically solo-Jovi, but still). That right there is a pretty stout list of ballads and rockers that will surely get the lighters up in the air.