At Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, June 21, 2008

Don’t you just love the British weather? It’s the Longest Day and supposedly the height of summer but non-stop torrential rain all day tells a different story. At least the enterprising poncho sellers outside the ground were quids in.

Local band Logan kicked off the show after successfully seeing off a number of acts to land the prestigious spot of opening for Bon Jovi. Despite the rain, Logan wasted no time in making the most of the biggest show of their lives in front of a highly appreciative hometown crowd. With an excellent set of songs, including the scintillating “When I Get Down” and a diamond of a singer in Kenny Collins who sang with the power and confidence of a seasoned veteran, Logan were a huge success. With a full UK tour imminent and interest growing by the day, there’s no doubting that Logan will be a name to watch out for in the coming months.

logan There’s been some mismatches on the touring front over the years with Shed Seven supporting Aerosmith springing to mind. On paper, breezy Pop Rockers The Feeling looked to be a bizarre choice for the main support act, especially as on previous tours the likes of Van Halen no less, have opened for Bon Jovi in the UK. As they strode on stage looking like a collection of computer geeks rather than Rockstars, there was nothing to change this preconception. Maybe it’s a reflection of Bon Jovi’s appeal these days, more mainstream and less leather clad Hard Rock.

However, to their credit, The Feeling worked the audience well and delivered a crowd-pleasing set of songs from both of their hugely successful albums with the Jellyfish-esq Pop infused harmonies of “Love It When You Call” raising the spirits of the increasingly drenched crowd. Their music may be perfect for a lazy summer’s day, but the rain didn’t dampen their performance or the crowd’s appreciation for them.

thefeeling After first coming across — Bon Jovi as a relatively unknown band supporting Kiss on their Animalize tour — you’d never had guessed that within a couple of years they would be one of the biggest bands on the planet as their Slippery When Wet album went through the stratosphere. Over 20 years have passed and Bon Jovi can still perform in venues that their peers can only dream about.

Hampden Park is Scotland’s National Stadium and by show time was pretty close to full. Few bands these days have this pulling power and fewer still have been able to maintain this level of devotion for over two decades. Bon Jovi in 2008 are big business.

bonjovi With the rain showing no sign of abating, the sight on Bon Jovi hitting the stage was greeted with the traditional Glasgow roar, as they launched into a lively rendition of Quo’s “Rockin’ All Over The World,” and there was no better way to get the party started than this.

Over the next two and half hours, Bon Jovi thrilled the increasingly excitable crowd with songs from their whole repertoire, going right back to their debut with “Runaway,” up to their latest Lost Highway album. In fact the biggest surprise is how well the new material sounds on stage. Lost Highway is somewhat lacklustere and sees the band heading in a more New Country direction, but on stage there’s an energy and kick lacking from their studio counterparts with “We Got It Going On” a fine addition to Bon Jovi’s collection of chest thumping anthems. It’s these anthems where Bon Jovi really excel. Whether it’s “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “It’s My Life,” “Have a Nice Day,” or the rousing “Livin’ On A Prayer,” where the Glaswegian Chorus shook Hampden to it’s very core, there’s no denying that Bon Jovi know how to pen a hook big enough to bag a Great White. Even the most hardened critics and cynics would not fail to be singing along to these by the end of the show.

bonjovi Bon Jovi also have something of a knack of turning out some pretty decent ballads too. If it wasn’t for the rain, the lighters would have been blazing to a tear stained “Always” and the evergreen “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”

On the last couple of tours, Jon Bon Jovi has taken some criticism for the strength of his voice, but at Hampden there were no such criticisms. In fact, he hasn’t sounded this good for years. As every smile and every move was greeted with huge cheers, you’d think that Jon Bon Jovi was the only member of the band who mattered. Sure, he’s an entertaining frontman who knows how to work a crowd, but there’s more to Bon Jovi than just Jon.

bonjovi Ritchie Sambora stars in his own way too. Providing the riffs, solos, and, of course, the talk-box that gives the band their signature sound, as well as providing backing vocals throughout. When a guitarist is handed a song to sing it’s usually time for a collective groan. What is it about lead guitarists that makes them think that they sound like Steve Perry when in reality they sound more like Jabba The Hutt? Just think about Keith Richards, Joe Perry, or Uli Jon Roth for proof. Yet, Ritchie Sambora posses a fine husky, Bluesy voice that fits “I’ll Be There For You” perfectly and really is a voice that should be heard a lot more than it is.

It’s difficult to pick out the highlights of the set, but the aforementioned “Livin’ On A Prayer” is inspiring and the sprawling, epic “Dry County” is stunning. The crowd went nuts for “Keep The Faith” and they rocked to the set-closing “Bad Medicine.”

As with most Bon Jovi shows, these days they chuck in the odd cover here and there and “Sleep When I’m Dead” features snippets of Duffy’s “Mercy” and “Twist And Shout,” but it is a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during the encores, which really hit the spot.

bonjovi As the final notes of “Bad Medicine” drifted through the Glasgow air, the rain continued to pour on the crowd as they headed for home. Few cared as Bon Jovi had come to Glasgow and delivered exactly what they wanted and for once the British weather failed to dampen a memorable evening.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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