Live Review: Bon Jovi on a gigantic stage

By Von Verena Köplin

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi brings fireworks, candles, stars, and special effects. A gigantic stage, big smiles, and an authentic show.

It took three days to bring “Sofia” to life. Three days and 250 people, that was supported by a local staff of 100  - and 900 cups of coffee per day.

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“Sofia” is the huge stage of rocker Jon Bon Jovi, who performed at the Rhein Energie Stadium in Cologne and presented his new album with a 2,5 hour concert on his “Because We Can - The Tour”. It may seem extreme to give your stage a name – but anyone who has seen this piece of modern video art, will understand this sort of loving personification.

The centre of the stage is the front of a 1959 Buick Electra 225, with 600.000 LED lights hidden in the windows, lights and around. The whole stage seems like a huge LED wall, the band appears ridiculously small in front. This is as much as a human eye can bear of light effects.

We mostly see detailed HD footage of the band, but also rain, fireworks, candles, star or special effects – after 1.900 hours procution work this is a piece of art choreographed down to the last guitar chord.

Who ever might have thought to see a bored American band playing their usual 90 min program, with much on the outside and nothing “inside” was proved wrong: Bon Jovi is different, and the audience feels it.

They take their fans (ages 5-85) right from the start, up to the last rows they sing, dance, and put their hands in the air. This works with new songs like the single “Because We Can” and the ballad “Amen” as well as with classics like “Livin’ On a Prayer” and “It’s My Life”. But the band has many more big hits that they did not played – hits like “Bed of Roses” and “Always”.

An ocean of waving arms of 40.000 people proves: the “Bon Jovi Concept” works. Their secret is as simple as it is rare in a line up of top stars: Bon Jovi is authentic. And even if he looks like a typical American with his stars/stripe leather jacket, his sunny-boy smile – he is never unreal. Neither in the duet with Christina Stürmer (support) nor wearing a German Trikot which was thrown on stage by a fan for the band’s 30th birthday and which he had to try on of course.

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That’s the reason why after more encores than originally planned, an entertaining evening ends in the sparkling stage of “Sofia” that is even more impressive in the dark.