A Bon Jovi banner hangs amongst the hockey legends above Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and that’s because no artists has played the venue as many times as they have. Jon Bon Jovi and his band of merry men from the shores of New Jersey made another stop in Toronto as part of their 2018 leg of the “This House is Not For Sale Tour” on May 12th, just over a year since their last visit, and fresh from their induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in April.
Bon Jovi opened their impressive 130-minute set with the title track from the tour’s namesake album. Jovi himself now in his mid-fifties and looking like a silver fox, is still full of energy and soul. From the start of the set, he was light on his feet and pulling off his signature dance moves, like the classic ‘reach for the sky.’ Admittedly, some of them look at little like “Dad moves” now, but regardless, he’s still got it.
The 360 stage was fairly barebones with no screens but ample lighting, reminiscent of fellow Jersey legend, Bruce Springsteen. The focus of the evening would be around the band and Jovi’s interaction with the audience.
It was hit after hit as the band made their way through the 21-song setlist, spanning their 13-album, 34-year discography. Making it very challenging to pick out highlights. Songs like “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Born to be My Baby,” “It’s My Life,” and “Bad Medicine” received seat-jumping, enthusiastic, ear-piercing reception and held up to the rock performances of today.
During “Keep the Faith,” the band took the opportunity to jam out a few solos, including a drum and keyboard solo from long time members Tico Torres and David Bryan. As well as a guitar solo from local boy and Richie Sambora replacement, Phil X. Near the end of the main set, Jovi made his way to a mini stage amongst the fans where they gushed and grabbed at him. During the song “Bed of Roses,” Jovi pulled up one lucky lady onto the stage to dance with him.
After a brief break, the band returned for a 3-song encore which included the essential “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” And despite the talkbox issues, the crowd went bonkers for the karaoke must-have hit and a fun finale to the evening. Even without youth on their side anymore, Bon Jovi show no signs of packing up. As the album suggests, this house is not for sale!