I'll never forget the first time I saw Bon Jovi in concert.  It was at the Target Center in the Cities a few years ago and our seats were practically in the rafters off to the side of the stage.  Jon looked like a little ant, but a handsome little ant.  It was then that my best friend of over 30 years, and fellow Bon Jovi fan, Christy and I decided we needed to see this concert again and from a better view.   Along comes 2013 and the boys are on tour.  We dragged our feet and never got tickets to the St. Paul show on April 7.  It was then announced that they added an Omaha show on April 8, 2013.  We had presale codes from the Century Link Center.  We both said that we would look for tickets the morning they went on sale and get the best ones we could.  As usual, things don't always work out for us.  Christy got busy at work and I had an impromptu meeting from 10-11 a.m.  When the meeting got done, I thought I would just check to see what was left.  They had already been on sale for an hour.   I typed in 2 tickets, best available.  Up popped Section 104, Row 2.  It didn't take me long to hit "Buy tickets."  I couldn't believe we were going to have such awesome seats to see a band we've been a fan of since we were 14.  Don't get me wrong, Rick Springfield is still my number one rocker, but Jon Bon Jovi is a very, very close second.

So, on to the show.  The show started 40 minutes late (who does Jon think he is?  Prince?) We got a full 2 1/2 hour show and 24 songs.  The elephant in the room was never directly addressed.  Of course I'm talking about the absence of Richie Sambora.  Jon briefly thanked his fans for their  kindness, support, friendship and patience over these last 30 years.  I think Jon gave the show everything he had to make sure it was a great concert even without one of the main members of the band.

Phil X filled in for Richie.  This isn't Phil's first opportunity to rock the stage with Bon Jovi.  He took over for Sambora in 2011 while Richie was in rehab.  The only time Jon brought attention to Phil was when he was introducing the band and thanked Phil for "helping out on lead guitar."

For the most part, I didn't miss Richie that much.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  I did miss the interaction between Richie and Jon and the guitar solos.  I thought Phil X rocked out on guitar a little harder than Richie does and I liked it.  I really missed Richie during "Wanted Dead of Alive."  Phil does his best, but seemed a little awkward.  But, you'd be a bit awkward, too if you were tapped to fill in for one of the best guitarists on the biggest concert tour of the year with no notice.  Check out a quick clip of the song below.

Here's the setlist from the show:

  1. You Give Love a Bad Name
  2. Raise Your Hands
  3. Runaway
  4. Lost Highway
  5. Because We Can
  6. That's What the Water Made Me
  7. It's My Life
  8. Whole Lot of Leavin'
  9. What About Now
  10. We Got it Goin' On
  11. Keep the Faith
  12. Amen
  13. Bed of Roses
  14. I'll Be There for You
  15. We Weren't Born to Follow
  16. Born to Be My Baby
  17. Who Says You Can't Go Home
  18. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
  19. Bad Medicine (with the Doors "Roadhouse Blues" excerpt)

Encore 1:

  1. In These Arms
  2. Wanted Dead of Alive
  3. Have a Nice Day
  4. Livin' on a Prayer

Encore 2:

  1. Always

The band rarely plays "Always" in concert and that was one of the highlights of the night.    It was a fantastic show.  It was really cool to see so many young kids at the show who were introduced to Bon Jovi's music through their parents.  And, Jon keeps the show clean, no swearing, so everyone can enjoy it.  Jon Bon Jovi is a class act.

Click below to see a Photo Gallery from the concert.  Well, it's mostly a photo gallery of Jon, but isn't he the one you really want to see anyway?


Here are some short video clips from the show.

Favorite song of the night.


Everybody knows the words to this one.


The reason I've added a clip of this is because you'll enjoy how Jon moves his hips.  This excerpt of "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors was part of "Bad Medicine."