Bon Jovi: 13th June 2013

The well-oiled rock machine that is Bon Jovi rolled into Wearside in style as the US stars thrashed their way through their extensive back catalogue in front of a bumper crowd at the Stadium of Light.

The band roared onto the stage with as much subtlety as their monster set, which was made up of the front grill of an old American Cadillac car, and from the moment the four-piece hit the stage they did not take their foot off the gas.

Up to 40,000 adoring fans were revved up as the leather-clad stars kicked off their three-hour show with What the Water Made.

“Good evening Sunderland! Get up out of your seat, this aint TV!”  yelled the 51 year-old rocker, as he greeted the crowd, “Show me what you got!”

Earlier rain showers did not dampen the spirits of the thousands that packed into the stadium; in fact a giant open-air karaoke was formed as they sang every word in unison with the band.

The front man belted out a plethora of crowd favourites from their collection of no-less than 12 studio albums, including You Give Love a Bad Name, Runaway and It's My Life, before peppering their set list with material from their new chart-topping record What About Now - as well as an impromptu rendition of Status Quo's Rockin' All Over the World. 

The gig at the home of Sunderland AFC was the band’s fourth pit stop on the UK leg of their Because We Can Tour, which kicked off in America back in February.

Founding guitarist Richie Sambora ruled himself out of the current tour, something that worried die-hard fans of the group, but they had nothing to worry about as replacement Phil X did a sterling job alongside Jon, giving a rock solid performance.

"Let's get this thing into high gear," he hollered as they entered their 20-minute encore with fan favourite Livin' On A Prayer.

"Thank you all for coming tonight and for your 30 years of friendship," uttered the front man, before asking the crowd to take out their mobile phones for the grand finale.

"Let's light up the Sunderland sky and you can tell everyone you made beautiful music with Bon Jovi!" 

The marathon show was brought to a close by the band's biggest UK hit, Always, and the four-piece rode off into the distance satisfied that their road trip to Sunderland was a roaring success!

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