Live Review: Bon Jovi 'Because They Can'

By Hector Saldana (mySA.com)

The show: Ageless New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi brought its top-grossing “Because We Can” world tour to AT&T Center on Tuesday. The legendary band is promoting its latest No. 1 album, “What About Now.” Pollstar ranked Bon Jovi’s current tour No. 1 for the first half of 2013 with gross ticket sales of $141.1 million.

Attendance: More than 14,000

First take: On Sunday, Jon Bon Jovi was hanging out with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at AT&T Stadium watching the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins (the band returns to play in Dallas on Wednesday).

But first there was some business here for the steel horse cowboys.

Opening with “That’s What the Water Made Me,” singer Jon Bon Jovi tapped into the energy of Bruce Springsteen with a rowdy song that recalled the fist-pumping drive of “Born in the U.S.A.”

“Are you with me out there?” Bon Jovi asked. “This ain’t television. Get out of your seats.”

They were already there. “You Give Love a Bad Name” insured that fans would stay there. Anthem followed upbeat anthem with “Raise Your Hands.”

The energetic frontman looked equally comfortable, whether behind an acoustic guitar or urging the crowd to sing along. “Lost Highway” delivered everyman rock, heartland stuff followed by “Whole Lot of Leavin’” — a song that could work as Texas-style Americana, too.

Drummer Tico Torres is back in the fold with guitarist Phil X (who has replaced Richie Sambora), keyboardist David Bryan and bassist Hugh McDonald.

“I ain’t gonna waste a lot of time talking,” Bon Jovi said. “I’ve got a lot of songs to sing.”

He launched into “It’s My Life,” followed by “Because We Can,” the band’s high-energy hit single.

But it really looked like the singer couldn’t wait to get to “the jukebox part of the show.”

He didn’t disappoint with the party animal strut, “We Got It Goin’ On” and “Keep the Faith,” the latter which recalled the late-‘60s Rolling Stones’ love of percussion.

Guitarist Phil X took things to furious Lynryd Skynryd levels on his Gibson Les Paul. The screams were often deafening for the band.

There were other Springsteen-like moments. Most notably, on the dramatic, quiet acoustic number, “Amen.”

The band stayed unplugged, joining Bon Jovi on the circular catwalk for “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night,” a love song with a hook as big as any weekend.”

Bon Jovi broke away from the acoustic set list with the haunting “Diamond Ring.” “We don’t get to play that one often,” said the singer.

Of course, this crowd-pleasing act gets away with it because they can. They’ve survived the ‘80s, MTV, grunge, teen pop, rap, hip-hop, Snooki and Hurricane Sandy.

There was little doubt, based on the volume of the female screams, that many in the house would take the lead singer up on his offer (You Want to) Make a Memory.”

He certainly was making them for thousands with songs like “Born to Be My Baby.”

“We Weren’t Born to Follow” had dozens remembering their wasted youth at ‘80s frat parties and dancing in the aisles like they hadn’t lost a step – but maybe just their inhibitions.

When he strapped on a gold-top Gibson Les Paul, the band entered into Cheap Trick-style musical territory on the fun “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” The entire AT&T Center clapped along.

“Lighten up for Christsakes! It’s Tuesday night,” said Bon Jovi before singing the Stones’ “Start Me Up.”

“I can do that (expletive) all night,” said Bon Jovi before heading right into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Then, he threw gasoline on the night’s fire with “Bad Medicine” into “Shout.” Not a bad way to end a set.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m having fun,” said the singer.

Bon Jovi kicked it up to 11 with an encore that included “In These Arms,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Runaway” (introduced this way: “Once upon a time, a long, long time ago”), “Have a Nice Day” and “Livin’ On a Prayer.”

“I want to thank you for these 30 years of kindness,” said Bon Jovi. “When the boss says, ‘What’d you do last night?’ Just tell him you spent the night with Bon Jovi.”