SALT LAKE CITY – They sell a lot of records and they tour…a lot.
That about sums up Bon Jovi in a nutshell.
Since breaking onto the music scene with their self-titled debut album in 1984, Bon Jovi have become one of the most wildly popular bands in the world. The New Jersey quartet (plus one longtime “unofficial” member) have released 11 studio albums, sold more than 130 million records around the world and despite a touring industry that continues to decline, had the number one top grossing tour in the world in 2010, playing before more than 1.5 million fans and earning more than $146 million.
“We’re just going out there and working our (butts) off and enjoying it and actually being the best band of our lives,” guitarist Richie Sambora said during a tele-conference earlier this year before the tour started. “And looking at the stats, there’s only been a couple bands that have done what we’ve done with our tours.”
After being absent for Salt Lake City for several years, Bon Jovi return to Energy Solutions Arena on Tuesday for their simply named “Bon Jovi Live” tour, which comes on the heels of their extensive “Circle Tour” in 2010.
It’s essentially a greatest hits tour with the set list comprising of material from every era of Bon Jovi’s extensive catalog, including their multi-platinum Slippery When Wet album which produced the rock anthems “Living On A Prayer,” “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and “You Give Love A Bad Name.” You can also expect to hear more recent songs like, “Have A Nice Day,” “It’s My Life” and “What Do You Got?”
Both Sambora and Torres say they’re grateful for not only the success but the longevity of their band. And they don’t mind playing the “hits” that crowds buy tickets to their concerts to hear, even if they’ve been playing them night after night since the mid-80s.
“It’s an exchange of energy. Not only between the band and the audience but between the band. And it excites me every night to play with (drummer) Tico Torres,” Sambora said.’
“Richie’s right, we play off each other and that’s what we have, that’s what a band is. Really the innuendos and the changes that we make are – unless you come see us ten nights in a row or even three nights in a row you won’t notice it but, you know, because we play different every night. It’s something that you look forward to because, you know, you spend a lot of time in the hotel room away from home and you’re looking forward to those three hours on stage where you could actually just do your craft and enjoy yourself,” Torres said.
Bon Jovi have stuck almost exclusively to stadium and arena-sized venues since the late-80s. But Sambora believes it’s what the band does best.
“I enjoy the big ones. I love it. I think it’s fantastic. I love the energy and the fact that Bon Jovi makes a stadium intimate and we can do that and we have been doing it for years. And we’ve learned how to do that and that’s, you know, just a part of what this band is at this point.”
“Yes, and the personal antics that we do as musicians, you know, Richie, David, Jon knows how to make a big crowd intimate. And we have a half-circle that goes out into the audience where we do acoustic stuff together. Again, it makes it more intimate. You know, but it takes a lot for a front man to make a big place seem like your living room and we make everybody sing,” added Torres.
The band was nominated last year for the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame on their first year of eligibility. Although they didn’t make it this year, Torres said he wasn’t worried about it.
“You got to look at the bands that still haven’t made it that are amazing and really it’s hard to pick three or four bands or even five bands. The bands that were nominated this year and the ones that made it, well deserved. And it’s just – well, it’s nice to be nominated. We have a long life ahead of us. And I think there’s a lot of bands that we’re included with that one day should be in the Hall of Fame and will be. You know, in time it’s just there’s only so much you can put in every year. So we just do what we do, play in front of people and have fun until then.”