Jon Bon Jovi always was one of the best looking rock stars in the business. While others could draw in adoring fans thanks to guitar skills, hip swivels, heartbreaking vocals and attitude, the New Jersey-born singer was one of the few to be able to add model-quality looks to that mix.
And at 53, he somehow looks better than ever.
Gracing the stage at du Arena in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Bon Jovi the man (and Bon Jovi, the band), it was immediately apparent that we were in the presence of some of rock’s nicest guys. There’s never been anything nasty about Bon Jovi and it showed in the beaming smiles from all the members as the cameras zoomed in throughout the show.
Clad in a simple yet devastatingly flattering rock-star look of tight black jeans and a long sleeved black t shirt, his black acoustic guitar draped across his body, Jon had the arena swooning in an instant. He grinned, bounded up and down the stage with endless energy, pumped the air with his fists and, in a beautifully choreographed moment, turned to a camera behind him just as a song ended, owning the perfect rock-star stance. It’s everything you’ve done with a hairbrush in front of your mirror at home, or in the car listening to You Give Love A Bad Name, their second track of the night after a softer opener, 2013’s That’s What The Water Made Me.
I’ll quit with the swooning, right after I tell you about the sleeveless black t shirt he changed into - the only costume change of the night - for In These Arms. How appropriate. But I want to know that man’s workout regime.
The set list was fantastic, and covered the biggies - Livin’ On A Prayer, as promised to tabloid! by Tico Torres and David Bryan - was an encore track; we got Dead or Alive, Bad Medicine and an especially rousing Keep The Faith. We Don’t Run, from their latest album, released in August, also got airplay.
The choices were rock-heavy, and kept the band moving, wrestling guitars and pumping fists. Jon’s vocals are strong, especially on their more country tracks that tone down the guitars and give his low tenor voice some space.
But their focus on rock anthems - It’s My Life, Have A Nice Day - left little room for the ballads that also made them a standout band in the 80s and 90s. Things only really slowed down for Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night.
No Bed Of Roses, Jon?
And how about their biggest selling single? The one that spent six months in the Billboard top ten? Jon, come back again, just to play me Always.