Live review: Bon Jovi at Wembley Stadium

Live review: Bon Jovi at Wembley Stadium

Bon Jovi, Wembley Stadium, June 21

Want to feel old? The last time Bon Jovi played Wembley Stadium, Billie Eilish wasn’t even born.

That was way back in August 2000, when the New Jersey legends became the final band to headline the famous old London venue.

Their belated debut at the new Wembley is more than a decade in the making. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers were due to christen the rebuilt stadium in 2006 (when Eilish was four, in case you're not feeling old enough already), only for plans to change when its opening was delayed. Still, what’s 13 years between friends?

“We sold out two nights before they were ready for us,” grins a fired-up Jon Bon Jovi, revving into opener This House Is Not For Sale, the title track from their most recent album, at the impressively early time of 7.55pm. “I like what you did to the place."

Raise Your Hands and you Give Love A Bad Name, both from 1986’s Slippery When Wet, receive early airings, setting the tone for a two-and-a-half-hour set of classics interspersed with newer material. There's no In These Arms, sadly, but Runaway, Keep The Faith, Bed Of Roses and Wanted Dead Or Alive fill the hits quota, alongside 2000 career rebirth It's My Life.

The sold-out crowd starts out hot and rarely dips in enthusiasm, forgiving the occasionally patchy sound (fast becoming a hallmark of this summer’s UK outdoor calendar) and – in a rarity for modern audiences – enthusiastically cheering for an encore. They are rewarded with an epic Always and a mind-blowing Livin’ On A Prayer, reclaimed from '80s night purgatory to take its rightful place in stadium rock folklore. It's a joyful climax to a fun-filled night.

There was another blast from the past on the undercard, meanwhile, where Manic Street Preachers opened proceedings (the band previously supported Bon Jovi at Milton Keynes Bowl in the early '90s). Consistent with the "better late than never" theme of the evening, it was the Manics’ first ever Wembley Stadium gig. You suspect it won’t take Billie Eilish quite so long.

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