By Carol Anne Szel
Yes, Bon Jovi's still living on a prayer, going from bars down the shore in New Jersey 25 years ago to now playing four shows in the new Giant Stadium at 80,000 seats a pop as part of their worldwide 2010 tour.
I vividly remember standing on the side of the stage with the guys in Skid Row watching in awe as Bon Jovi literally took the frenzied crowd in the palm of their hands playing to their hometown crowd in the old Giant Stadium in 1989. The vibe was electric. The Skids and I looked at each other in disbelief seeing a super-group in the making.
We've all grown up since then. Jon's gone from long-haired rock icon to short-haired singer of a band. No more "Living on a Prayer" high-wire shenanigans. Now that he's traveled the world a few times over, this musician has settled again in his roots of New Jersey. His humanitarian endeavors have seen him impart an organization called Soul Foundation, which helps the local homeless.
Bon Jovi, consisting of band members Richie Sambora on guitar, Tico Torres on drums, and David Bryan on keys, were the quintessential 80s bunch of starving musicians thinking they were out to conquer the world while scrounging for their next gig. The start of what some call the Hair Band era of rock and roll. And with their third album, "Slippery When Wet," released in 1986, the band launched it's calling card to the music world.
In the years prior to that, Bon Jovi released their debut self-titled record in 1984, with their hit single "Runaway" dropping a year prior, affording them an opening slot for Kiss and ZZTop. 1985's "7800 Fahrenheit" brought the band moderate success, and an appearance at the very first Farm Aid.
Long and short of it, after 11 studio albums that went platinum, countless awards, tours, accolades every musician dreams of, Bon Jovi remains a force to be reckoned with today.
Often comparing themselves, and in this Bruce fan's eyes, sometimes attempting to borrow some of the moves of Springsteen, Bon Jovi remains at the musical core of New Jersey. And when all is said and done, the world.
And being the very first interview I ever scored back in 1988 starting my career in the music world, I have to look back fondly at those days gone by with fondness and gratitude. It was an era now seen as the generation of the 1960s seemed to me growing up. A magical time when young bands were aplenty. Life was a bit less complicated. And we saw rock and roll go through a major transition from punk and pop to power rock. Long live looking back at the 80s generation of Bon Jovi and it's triumph of longevity in rock and roll.