Since my Tuesday started with a screening of David Chase’s upcoming film, “Not Fade Away,” about a band of high school friends trying to achieve stardom in ‘60s-era New Jersey, it seemed fitting that my day would end watching another Jersey band – one that has long bypassed normal stardom to the point of sold out stadiums, more than 100 million records sold and a fanatic fan base.
Yep, Bon Jovi was participating in one of those Fathom Events concert specials at several area theaters Tuesday night. The concert portion was recorded and expertly edited months ago – the material came from the band’s 2010 tour, including their 12-date run at London’s O2 Arena, the christening of what is now MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands and concerts at Madison Square Garden.
But as cool as it was to watch a Bon Jovi concert on a movie screen – with booming sound and HD-quality video to match – the real draw to this event was the 30-minute live Q&A with the band that preceded the concert(s) footage.
Beamed in from the AMC Empire 25 movie theater in New York, the core foursome of Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres filed onto a stage at the front of the room to answer questions about – but mostly promote – their upcoming album and tour (which stops at Philips Arena Feb. 27 – tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. Monday).
Host(ess) Allison Hagendorf quizzed the band about their upcoming appearance at the 12/12/12 concert at Madison Square Garden to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy – “I’d like to think we could all come together for the hell of it instead of a tragedy,” Jon said, referencing the lineup that includes Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and The Who – before moving on to questions about their “What About Now” album, due in the spring.
Throughout the session, a slightly tired-looking Jon handled most of the answers, relating that the title track of the album “calls those out who have been standing on the sidelines and criticizing” and that the record contains “big ol’ anthems made for stadiums and some introspective songs as well.”
Next year, Bon Jovi celebrates its 30th anniversary. Bryan noted that the first note played on the tour “will ring a long time,” while Sambora added that, “We’re beyond a band at this point. It’s a family.”
Following the Q&A session, where the band also answered questions submitted by text, Twitter and from members in the New York audience, the “Inside Out” concert portion began with “Blood on Blood,” Bon Jovi’s definitive anthem of the brotherhood that Sambora referenced.
The coolest aspect of the show – which will surely be released on DVD, no? – was the split screens that usually showed the same song being performed in two of the three venues simultaneously. Sometimes there was sweat and sometimes there was better coiffed hair, but no matter the city, the guys exhausted themselves.
While only about 20 people attended my screening at Regal Perimeter Pointe, many of them clapped at the end of songs and dutifully punched the air during the classic fan favorite, “Raise Your Hands.”
The concert, which spanned the obvious – “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Born to Be My Baby” – and non-U.S. chart-toppers but fan-friendly songs “Whole Lot of Leavin’” (which was a hit in Europe) and football anthem “We Got it Going On,” showcased the band at a peak point in their everlasting career. (The live album is now available on iTunes, for those who are interested.)
What will they do for an encore? Guess we’ll find out next year.