Rumors aren’t always true. The word spread over the Internet that Jon Bon Jovi passed away in an Asbury Park hotel Monday. Well, the leader of Bon Jovi looked pretty good for a corpse when he closed out the Concert of Hope Monday night at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank.
“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Bon Jovi said after being introduced by Bobby Bandiera, who organized the event, which benefits the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
After making like Mark Twain, Bon Jovi and the 14-piece Jersey Shore Rock n Roll Revue kicked into a spirited, jazzy version of the Box Tops’ ‘The Letter.’
“Heaven looks like New Jersey,” Bon Jovi cracked. “It’s good to be home.” The rocker, who was beaming playing a hometown show just ten minutes from his Rumson digs, detailed how each of his family member’s cell phones were ringing around 5 p.m. Monday.
“At first I thought, ‘these teenage kids and their phones,’ Bon Jovi said. “He explained that he and his brood noted emphatically to friends and family that he is alive and well. “He’s still here,” Bon Jovi said of himself. “He just doesn’t look so good.”
Bon Jovi aptly rendered ‘Wanted Dead or Alive,’ as well as a number of other Bon Jovi hits such as ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ and ‘Born To Follow.’
But it wasn’t all about Bon Jovi. The fifth Concert of Hope, the first since 2008, also featured the quirky Southside Johnny Lyon and the playful Gary U.S. Bonds. The off-the-wall pals have uncommon chemistry.
The sexy and sublime Nicole Atkins stole the fiery version of ‘Run Run Rudolph’ from Bon Jovi. Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem and Tim McLoone and the Shirleys also donated their skills to the show, which generated $175,000 for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
Rumors aren’t always true. The word was that Bruce Springsteen was going to make a surprise appearance at the show, which he has done on occasion. After closing with a terrific cover of The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love,’ ‘Bruuuce’ emanated from many fans in the SRO room, which holds 1,543.
However, the closest fans got to the Boss was a canned version of ‘Thunder Road,’ which blared over the PA. There was no Springsteen but half of the crowd belted out the song by the local boy, who didn’t make the event.
But at least Bon Jovi is alive and thanks to a big contribution, hopefully others battling cancer can live as well.