Bon Jovi – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Wed 22 Jun 2011 (3 stars)

Polished if unremarkable show from the New Jersey rockers

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Bon Jovi – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Wed 22 Jun

For many years, to even admit to a passing love of Bon Jovi invited ridicule and derision. But the passage of time has been kind to these reformed poodle rockers. Nostalgia has meant their hits have been reassessed as cheesy but ultimately life-affirming slices of pop rock perfection. Despite the ridicule, they still sold millions of records (over 120 million in fact).

However, the Jovi weren’t 100% fighting fit on this Murrayfield outing. While the rain (mainly) stayed off, the grim grey weather wasn’t the perfect starting point, nor is opening with ‘Blood on Blood’, but these aren’t the main hitches with tonight’s show. Richie Sambora, fresh out of rehab, looks slightly baffled throughout, while due to a knee injury in Helsinki Jon Bon Jovi himself is sporting a leg brace. With the frontline of BJ confused and injured we get a slightly static performance from what should be the cheerleaders in a master class of FM friendly radio rock.

It’s still a hugely polished show however. There may be lulls but the highs are fantastic. An early ‘You Give Love a Bad Name' spikes the crowd with excitement, ‘Bad Medicine’ is the rock’n’roll stomp it should be (morphing into Rod Stewart’s ‘Hot Legs’ and a brief snatch of Lulu’s ‘Shout’) and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ is outlaw pop-country-rock at its best (with Sambora rocking a double acoustic guitar). The problem is it also slips in MOR plod rock far too often and the complete lack of pyro is frankly criminal (the only fireworks being projected on the gigantic back screen). So while the Jovi may be coasting, it’s such a slick gig that it’s hard not to get swept up in the fist-pumping joy of a monumental ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’.

Setlist

‘Blood on Blood’
‘You Give Love a Bad Name’
‘Born to Be My Baby’
‘We Weren't Born to Follow’
‘Lost Highway’
‘Whole Lot Of Leavin'’
‘It's My Life’
‘Runaway’
‘Raise Your Hands’
‘Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars’
‘Bad Medicine/Hot Legs/Shout’
‘(You Want To) Make A Memory’
‘Wild Is The Wind’
‘I'll Be There For You’
‘Who Says You Can't Go Home’
‘I'll Sleep When I'm Dead’
‘No Apologies’
‘Have a Nice Day’
‘Keep the Faith’

‘Something to Believe In’
‘Wanted Dead or Alive’
‘In These Arms’
‘Livin' on a Prayer’

‘These Days’

Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer

Bon Jovi

Poodle rockin' veterans with a set of air-punching anthems.

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