Jon Bon Jovi may have been all around the world, and that’s a matter of fact, but that didn’t stop him from returning to State College for the third time Saturday night.
As a stop of the band’s “Because We Can” tour, Bon Jovi performed to a full crowd of fans at the Bryce Jordan Center, or the temporarily renamed “Bon Jovi Center.” The tour features the band’s classic hits, as well as newly-debuted singles from their upcoming album “What About Now,” set to be released March 12.
For some of the students, the concert offered another option of entertainment on the student-created State Patty’s Day holiday.
“It's definitely the better choice for me tonight," April Roe (senior-environmental resources management) said. "The tickets were pretty cheap, and it's Bon Jovi. Who wouldn't want to go?”
At about 8 p.m., the anxious chatter that filled the BJC turned into abrupt shouting as slowly, each one of the band members came out on stage, before the once dark stage shone a light over the vacant front microphone stand on center stage.
That was when Jon Bon Jovi appeared, briefly taking in the crowd before starting to sing the first lyrics of his classic hit, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” as the sea of red lights encompassed the stands in flashes of bold light.
The stage itself was a circular formation, allowing bandmates to move closer to the audience wrapped around the special VIP section in the pit, and contained various backdrops. One in particular had a distinctly Penn State-inspired theme, featuring Old Main and the Nittany Lion Statue amid patterns of blue and white colors.
Besides the elaborate backdrops that accompanied each hit that roared the crowd, parts of the stage even turned into a rising staircase, on which Bon Jovi climbed to the very top of to see the full crowd as he belted another hit, “We Got it Going On.”
“I came back to Penn State for one and only one reason –– to make all of the girls scream,” Bon Jovi said to the audience as he began dancing on the very top of the staircase, causing inspired screams from the responding audience to nearly shake the venue.
Between animated hand gestures and conversations with the audience in between playing more of the band’s greatest hits, including “It’s My Life” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” Bon Jovi kept the crowd singing and dancing along through an almost three hour-straight vocal performance.
At one point in the show, the mood changed to a slightly calmer tempo as Bon Jovi, along with his said “sidekick” Richie Sambora, moved the microphone closer to the crowd to break out a few of the band’s slower tunes including “I’ll Be There For You”. The duo was standing so close to members of the audience that some were even grabbing them by their ankles.
Closing with the much anticipated, signature number, “Livin' On A Prayer,” the crowd sang half of the song through its chanting and screams as Bon Jovi held the microphone out to the audience. The arena became a complete whirlwind of shaking, shouting, and the brightness that enveloped every section of the arena from the floor seats to the nosebleeds.
With a final bow with the entire band, Bon Jovi left the stage with the crowd begging for more as each of the countless lights slowly turned off one by one.
“The show was absolutely incredible and kept getting better,” Alexa Desautels (freshman-mathematics) said. “It made it so obvious why Bon Jovi is such a legend and why he will always be remembered.”