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Bon Jovi (Photo: Guy Privas)
Bon Jovi in Israel: History at Yarkon Park
Veteran band demonstrates that some rockers age not just with grace, but with a great deal of dignity, showing Israelis that wait was worth it.
To really enjoy a Bon Jovi concert in 2015, you have to approach it with a complete lack of cynicism. Whoever couldn’t suspend the critical approach requisite of an adult witnessing the sugary pop-rock hits, the waiving locks of hair, the shiny pants, and the air guitar tribute – likely didn’t bother coming over to the Yarkon Park on Saturday for the New Jersey band’s first, historic concert in Israel.

 

 

Those who arrived without pretention, young at heart and nostalgic – and there were 50,000 of them in the Park Saturday – got to see a great performance by one of the most experienced and refined bands in the world today. The guitar playlist that blared through the microphone was sharply cut off at 8:45pm (an earlier-than-usual start for a concert at the park), the lights went out, and from that moment till 10:50pm Bon Jovi took the hungry Israeli crowd on a journey of the crevasses of their long and winding career.

 

Bon Jovi in Tel Aviv

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Those who got their musical education from mid-80s-mid-90s guitar rock saw an performance that was aggressive to just the right degree, filled with guitar and keyboard solos, which reminded people that the members of Bon Jovi – even if it was merely a phase for them – come from a heavy metal background.

 

Metal, any average fan will tell you, is where the best virtuoso musicians grew. Bon Jovi’s performance in the park put this on display, and deserved a stage the size of which few places in Israel can give, with Yarkon Park being one of them.

 

Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: Yaron Brener

 

Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: Yaron Brener

 

The band started as strongly as it could – and slowly got even stronger. Jon Bon Jovi himself is great as a leading man – an old-school performer, from the days where a band leader wasn’t just a voice and lyrics, but a charismatic showman who can inject enthusiasm into the crowds’ veins. And inject it he did, playing giant hits like Living on a Prayer, It’s My Life, You Give Love a Bad Name, Have a Nice Day, Bad Medicine, and more.

 

Photo: Guy Privas (Photo: Guy Prives)
Photo: Guy Privas

 

Photo: Adi Cohen Zedek
Photo: Adi Cohen Zedek

 

It was a precise, well-executed, fantastic night. A night starring a band that’s been satisfying audiences for many decades, has aged gracefully, and could teach current pop stars a lesson in performance.

 

Jon Bon Jovi told the roaring crowd that the band will come back any time the fans want, took a photo with the band, and finished off their tour in the best way possible. Even if they won’t come back so fast – Israel got a hell of a show by a hell of a band. Whoever chose to leave their cynicism at home got to witness one of the best concerts we’ve ever seen.

 

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