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.
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.
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.
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.