When it comes to music, I grew up on WABC-AM Top 40 (Harry Harrison and Cousin Brucie, anyone?). Carole King was my goddess in junior high. And as un-hip as it may sound, in high school, I loved listening to Jim Croce (my heart broke when his plane crashed), CSNY, Aztec Two-Step, James Taylor, Phoebe Snow. College brought more artists who live on my iPod today — Billy Joel (I’d still go see him anytime, anywhere), Bruce Springsteen (do I really need to explain why), the Eagles, Dan Fogelberg (hey, my iPod, my choices). But fairly new to my listening roster (and as much a surprise to me in my 50s as the discovery that I love blue-collar crime dramas like Blue Bloods, The Departed and The Town) is Jersey’s own Bon Jovi.
These guys blipped onto my radar with the release of their countrified single, Who Says You Can’t Go Home (did I mention that I’m also a big country music fan?). That was followed by their MTV Unplugged performance, during which they played most of their big hits — but instead of loud and fast, we’re talking jazzy and slow. Totally intoxicating. The highlight was Jon Bon Jovi singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Truly a religious experience for anyone who worships music. (Watch and listen here.)
About four years ago, B. took me to a Bon Jovi concert for my 50th birthday, and I got to hear all those hits full blast. There were lots of screaming women in the audience (including 50-somethings with Bon Jovi tramp stamps — really?), lots of video screens and lighting effects, and lots of Jon and Richie dressed like glitzy rock and roll stars (minus the big ’80s hair). And it was all amazing.
But for me, the most unforgettable part of the show was the final encore, when it was just Jon in a single spotlight, dressed in jeans and a faded red t-shirt, singing Hallelujah. Perfection.
Guess who’s coming to LA this spring? Hallelujah, indeed.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman