Bon Jovi Rocks Tampa

I went to see Bon Jovi play at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, February 14th,  2017 in support of his new release ‘This House Is Not for Sale’, which is the band’s thirteenth studio album, and their first show in the area in almost four years. It was my third time seeing them play, and while my metalhead friends give me some good natured ribbing about being a poser going to see Bon Jovi, I have to remind them that I am not all blood, guts and death metal. I grew up on his music from the mid-80s onward, watched his videos on MTV and was fortunate (purely my own opinion here obviously) to have seen him back in his glory days in 1985 before he and the band evolved beyond their hair metal beginnings.

Bon Jovi 2017

I thought it was an excellent show and I liked how the stage was open literally 360 degrees around so there was little clutter on stage to take focus away from watching the musicians. Some people would say it is not the same without Richie Sambora, longtime guitarist and co-songwriter of some of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits, but really there are few bands that have lasted as long and have not gone through some sort of lineup change. To my ear new lead guitarist Phil X did not miss a beat and Jon can still command the stage and audience with his movements and still strong voice. Every song was sung and played with passion, emotion and appreciation for the fans, and the music production quality was very good as I was able to pick out and hear every instrument at some point during the show.  

Bon Jovi 2017

Jon Bon Jovi paid homage to Ron Diaz, a DJ on the old local WYNF rock station from my youth and who was one of the first stations to play Bon Jovi songs on air before they got signed back in the mid-80s. Yet he couldn’t remember on his own the call letters for the station and asked the crowd of 18,000 strong, “Bonus points on Valentine’s Day for the first girl who can tell me the name (of the station), I’m going to come down to give you kisses.” It took a few tries from those in and near the front rows but finally one lucky girl was rewarded with a lifelong memory of a Valentine hug from on Bon Jovi.

Bon Jovi 2017

To me the set list was a little heavy on their more recent releases, yet, as expected sprinkled in were their anthemic hits that have cemented the band’s place in rock and music history which of course received more energy and singing along from the crowd. No matter what concert I attend, even if I do not get to hear all of the songs I was hoping for, I know every song played was someone’s in attendance favorite song that they were wanting and hoping to hear, and from what I could see this show was no different. The crowd showed their love for the band in their two hour plus performance, and I do not think there was a single person sitting or not singing along as the band closed with their ageless signature hit and Number 1 on VH1’s list of The 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s, ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’.

Bon Jovi 2017

Being a people watcher, it certainly was a show for all ages as their music crosses at least three generations and I witnessed just about every age bracket in the crowd, which just solidifies how music truly does bring us all together.


Bon Jovi set list:

  • This House Is Not for Sale
  • Knockout
  • You Give Love a Bad Name
  • Born to Be My Baby
  • We Weren’t Born to Follow
  • Lost Highway
  • Roller Coaster
  • Work for the Working Man
  • I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
  • We Got It Goin’ On
  • Who Says You Can’t Go Home
  • It’s My Life
  • We Don’t Run
  • God Bless This Mess
  • Scars on This Guitar
  • The Devil’s in the Temple
  • Lay Your Hands on Me
  • Blood on Blood
  • Have a Nice Day
  • Bad Medicine
  • Keep the Faith


  • Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Livin’ on a Prayer