Jon Bon Jovi kicked off his set with the title track of his new album "This House Is Not for Sale," where the stage was graced in an American flag backdrop. He had the audience clapping along on the upbeat tune, and it ended in a neat reprise. After a killer drum solo, he immediately broke into "Knockout."
"Well, good evening New York City. I'm sorry I'm late," he joked, prior to noting that he wanted to be 102 percent well (after his Madison Square Garden shows were postponed from last week due to illness). "I feel really good," he said, and belted out the rock anthem "You Give Love a Bad Name," which was sheer perfection.
It was followed by "Lost Highway" and "Whole Lot of Leavin'," where purple lights dimmed from the stage. "How are we doing so far?" he asked, and he received a raucous response from the crowd. "How are we up there?" he asked, pointing to the nosebleed section, and he even asked how the rows in the back of him are doing, who will be faced with the task of facing his "rear end" for the whole night, but the ladies reassured him that they did not mind.
Prior to singing the new song "Roller Coaster," he introduced several of his band members. In "We Weren't Born to Follow," lead guitarist Phil X nailed the electric guitar. "Are you still with me up there?" he asked, and he went on to sing the rocking "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," where the white and green laser lights dimmed from the stage.
"I'm just getting warmed up," he said, and continued with "We Got It Goin' On," which had a power-house a cappella ending. "There's nothing like coming back home," he said, which was the ideal segue for "Who Says You Can't Go Home." This rock version, sans Jennifer Nettles of the country duo Sugarland, had a neat arrangement to it.
After a sip of water and introducing the remaining members of his band, Jon Bon Jovi delivered the song that everybody was waiting for, his spitfire and unapologetic "It's My Life," where everybody at the venue was singing along.
During "We Don't Run," red lights dimmed from the stage, as the audience clapped along. He went on to do some storytelling about the following three songs from his new album, This House Is Not for Sale
, which included "God Bless This Mess," "Scars on This Guitar" and "New Year's Day." The first song set up the foundation for the record, and dubbed it as the "cornerstone" of the album. For Bon Jovi, all of these songs were chapters of a book. "New Year's Day" was an acoustic guitar-driven tune, which he described as the "happy ending of the book," and everybody helped light up the venue with their cell phone lights for a memorable performance.
"Lay Your Hands on Me" featured their soaring harmonies, and they continued with "Born to Be My Baby" and the liberating, up-tempo tune "Have A Nice Day." They closed their set with two fan-favorites such as "Bad Medicine" and "Keep the Faith."
The New Jersey rocker and his band returned for an encore, which included such songs as "Runaway," "Blood on Blood," the rock classic "Wanted Dead or Alive" and of course, their signature song "Livin' on a Prayer."
Overall, Bon Jovi was able to rock out Madison Square Garden. Despite being ill last week, which resulted in the shows getting postponed, front-man Jon Bon Jovi came back stronger than ever. Phil X was electrifying on lead guitar, and the band sounded awesome as a whole. They proved that they deserve to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they are long overdue for that honor. Bon Jovi's live show at Madison Square Garden garnered an A rating.