CONCERT REVIEW: Bon Jovi was best when playing the hits

There are some bands whose music I never get tired of hearing. Bon Jovi definitely falls under this category. The New Jersey natives made a stop at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday as part of their “Because We Can” tour.

The concert began with a sea of lights sweeping over the crowd like a soundless drum roll announcing the band’s arrival. And then they appeared on stage — drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan, guitarist Richie Sambora, and Jon Bon Jovi dressed in black jeans and leather.

Their 1986 hit “You Give Love a Bad Name” started the concert off with a bang and clearly pumped up the audience. Jon was every inch the charismatic rock star, shaking his hips, using every part of the stage and interacting with the audience. The band treated the crowd to a number of songs off the upcoming album “What About Now,” including “Because We Can,” “That’s What the Water Made Me” and the title track.

One of the most interesting parts of the concert was the set behind the band; rows of large pillars would slowly rise from the ground and drop from the ceiling, projecting different images and videos onto the massive structure during the songs. The band didn’t forget to throw a shout out to Penn State, showing pictures of the Nittany lion standing proud during one of their numbers. This extra bit of flashiness only added to the already awesome spectacle that is a Bon Jovi concert.

Bon Jovi performing its most popular songs got the best audience reaction. The energy of the audience declined during the more mellow numbers, such as “(You Want To) Make a Memory” and “Bed of Roses,” but the band rejuvenated the crowd again with the old hit “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

Jon Bon Jovi’s heartfelt tone on songs such as “I’ll Be There For You,” and his boundless energy during songs like “It’s My Life,” “Bad Medicine” and “Runaway,” made the crowd go wild. But no song received a bigger reaction than the final song, the one the band knew the crowd had been waiting all night to hear: “Living On a Prayer.”

Ending the night on a high note, the members of Bon Jovi took a bow and exited the stage while the rowdy audience continued to cheer and shout their approval long after the band was gone.

Chloe Rabinowitz can be reached at cdtweekender@centredaily.com.