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Review: Bon Jovi pleases Columbus crowd with lengthy set, gives students backstage work experience

Tim Kubick / For The Lantern

“We’re going to play every hit you’ve ever known from the last 30 years,” Jon Bon Jovi promised the screaming fans Sunday night at Nationwide Arena.

And Bon Jovi didn’t disappoint, playing a more than two-hour show, which included hits “I’ll Be There For You,” “Bad Medicine” and “Runaway” for the nearly full arena, which can hold up to 20,000 people for its concerts.

The band opened its 25-song set, part of the “Because We Can” tour, with “You Give Love a Bad Name,” pumping up the audience. That momentum stayed intact for the remainder of the night even through its newest and slower tracks, such as ones from the upcoming album “What About Now,” set to be released Tuesday.

From the well-known “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” to new song “Amen,” Bon Jovi proved not only can he keep a crowd’s attention but also his voice can still make fans gasp.

Along with letting his vocals shine, throughout the show Bon Jovi exuberated energy, moving about the circular stage onto a runway and even onto pillars that rose up.

But an intricate setup wasn’t the only surprise Sunday night.

“I think it’s about time we loosen things up here a bit,” Bon Jovi said right before playing “We Got It Goin’ On,” a climax of the set.

Another highlight was during the performance of “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” when the band essentially paused the song to play a  Roy Orbison cover.

“I need a little bit of swagger,” Bon Jovi told guitarist Richie Sambora, who then started to play “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which he and Bon Jovi sang together.

However the most bizarre part of the evening came after I, and probably most of the crowd, thought the night was over.

After leaving the stage and returning for three encore songs, which consisted of “Make a Memory,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and “Born to Be My Baby,” the crowd was roaring and preparing to exit. However, Bon Jovi returned for three more encore songs, comprised of “Have a Nice Day,” “Livin’ On a Prayer” and “Always.”

With no opener and its six-song encore, making up the lengthy set, fans probably received more Bon Jovi Sunday than they anticipated.

Rewind to noon the day of the concert. It’s eight hours before show time and four other students and myself are backstage at Nationwide for the opportunity to be a part of the “Bon Jovi Community Service College Campaign.”  We were not only given the chance to work directly with management coordinator at Bon Jovi Management, Mike Savas but other members of the management and production team.

From stuffing gift bags, to setting up rooms, to organizing tickets, our day was packed with witnessing what work goes into the day of a concert.

The experience was one anyone would be grateful for and I would volunteer to be an “intern for the day” any day. I was able to meet a number of intriguing people, and ending the long day by witnessing the talent that is Bon Jovi was indescribable.

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