A full house packed the Xcel Energy Center which has a capacity of 20,554 and I believe every seat was occupied. If you are a fan of the internationally famous 80’s rock band Bon Jovi, then you are no stranger to the packed arenas that this legendary rock band commands. The venue was completely packed and there were many people that I knew from several states over that were attending Sunday night at the sold-out Bon Jovi show in a slippery and wet snowy evening St. Paul Minnesota. I’ve only seen Bon Jovi once before at this same venue several years ago, still larger than life, still packed to the rafters.
I was not sure what to expect on the shooting conditions when I arrived as I have never photographed at this particular venue. We had to make our way through a sea of people to get to the floor where a plethora of photographers were stationed. I had a hard time hearing a bit of the show due to the location near the soundboard at the back of the venue. I looked at all of the photographers and it looked as if they were bird watching waiting to capture that special photo at anytime. A huge crowd of fans surround our area and you could feel the electricity and excitement in the air. As the lights dimmed the crowd began to scream and then the band appeared on stage. Jon Bon Jovi appeared on stage in a black leather jacket with an American flag detailed into the leather. His noticeably shorter hair which is much different than the long haired rocker locks he is known for. There was an impressive wardrobe from each band member that suited their personalities. I did notice a multi outfit change from keyboardist David Bryan during the show. His signature blond curly hair seemed to match his gold jacket in perfect fashion.
The setlist included songs from multiple albums including some from their most popular album “Slippery When Wet” and 5 new songs off the 2020 “Limitless” album. I spoke to whom I would consider one of the top Bon Jovi fans, Kristi Farnam from Wisconsin on her experience with the show and others that she has attended. She stated, “The Limitless Album is not one that I like. The songs they play from that album does not do it for me. I wish they would shake up the setlist to keep things more upbeat. Some of the songs performed were sang in a lower octave due to his voice not being as strong as it used to be”. She said one of the highlights for her was the acoustic set where they honored Ukraine with “We Don’t Run” which included a cool video in the background as they performed.
During the show, Jon addressed the crowd several times on several topics. He sounded noticeably tired as he spoke to the audience. It seems that John was struggling through his vocal performance on several songs and everyone seemed to notice. They were happy and thankful to be back on the road and appreciated everyone for coming out to see the show. He addressed the war in Ukraine prior to leading into “It’s My Life”. During the set they also played “American Reckoning” regarding the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis.
The band sounded good musically. There were some mismatched harmonies at times. He did sound good performing “Beautiful Drug” which fit his vocal range. Phil X did a stellar solo performance on “Keep the Faith” and his stage presence and showmanship was the highlight of the show. Keyboardist David Bryan banged out familiar magical tunes and backing vocals from his high perched lit area on the right side of the stage which only magnified his choice of clothing at that moment. Next time I shall either bring a step stool or some stilts to get a better view of the action. They played old favorites “Wanted Dead or Alive”, You Give Love a Bad Name” and Livin’ on A Prayer” from “Slippery When Wet” album which is a personal favorite of mine. Songs like “Radio Saved My Life Tonight” which is a song full of life and “Love’s The Only Rule”, which fan Kristi Farnam described as some great deeper cuts.
You must give props to Jon Bon Jovi, though no longer in his 20’s, he has stayed steadfast in continuing to perform after many years. Hopefully he will continue to bring great performances and hits that we can add to our list of favorite songs.
Bon Jovi is:
Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Phil X – guitar
David Bryan – keyboards, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums, backing vocals
Hugh McDonald – bass, backing vocals
Everett Bradley – percussion, backing vocals
2) The Radio Saved My Life Tonight
2) You Give Love a Bad Name
4) We Weren’t Born to Follow
5) It’s My Life
6) Just Older
7) Born to Be My Baby
8) Beautiful Drug
9) Let It Rain
10) Keep the Faith
11) American Reckoning (Acoustic)
12) We Don’t Run (Acoustic, band introductions)
13) Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night (Acoustic)
14) Who Says You Can’t Go Home
15) Lost Highway
16) Wanted Dead or Alive
17) Do What You Can
18) This House Is Not for Sale
19) Have a Nice Day
20) Livin’ on a Prayer
21) Love’s the Only Rule
22) Bad Medicine
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As a Minneapolis-based professional freelance photographer and photojournalist, I feel I have a passion for sharing new perspectives of the world. Since picking up my first DSLR camera, I have been hooked ever since. Striving to capture the rawest forms of emotion through my photos, I am determined to make the viewer feel as if they were there too. Whether I am photographing landscapes, families, children, events, or concerts, I feel I have a way of capturing the true essence of the moment and finding the extraordinary in an ordinary place.
I am always looking for a creative outlet through my art, I find myself drawn to concerts as a rock music lover. You will find me right up front in the pit with everyone else. I have documented tours with some of the biggest artists in rock history including George Lynch, Judas Priest, Billy Idol, Slaughter, Vince Neil, Rick Springfield, and many more. I continue to push boundaries with my work and strive to capture some of the most iconic moments that represent the vibe of the artists and crowd as well as the atmosphere of the overall event. I am a contributor for All Music Magazine and a published photographer including features in Guitar Magazine and a feature cover photo on George Lynch’s 2021 solo album. Some of my clients include Morley Pedals, Rat Pak Records, Two Notes Audio, and many more.
“I capture emotions, not images.”