They're older. Their hair is shorter. And they have a whole bunch of songs that their 1980s fans don't necessarily recognize.
But Bon Jovi, the New Jersey-based band known for hits such as "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" might have been the first band to play Intrust Bank Arena that kept the crowd on its feet from start to finish.
The band, led by singer Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora, filled the arena Thursday night with what appeared to be a sold-out crowd. Arena officials didn't have attendance numbers, but few seats were empty and the floor was packed. The crowd of 15,000-plus was filled out late in the week with fire sales on tickets. Many in the crowd found last-minute seats for $10 and $15 apiece. Tickets were $40 to $500 when they first went on sale.
The band took the stage with one of its classic hits, "Blood on Blood" from the 1988 album "New Jersey." Bon Jovi and Sambora were front stage under the spotlights, with the rest of the band back farther and on risers.
The stage featured a bank of high-tech video screens behind the band and a half-circle walkway in front, which enclosed a group of high-priced ticket holders in a pit of superfandom.
"I'm not going to waste time talking," Bon Jovi said shortly into his set. "You paid me to sing." The set list included several of Bon Jovi's post-2000 hits, including "Love's the Only Rule" from the band's current album, "The Circle."
But the crowd, mostly filled with fans in their 30s and beyond, really responded to the classics, including crowd pleasers such as "You Give Love a Band Name," "Born to be My Baby" and "(You Want to) Make a Memory." Fans went crazy for the group's rendition of "Bad Medicine," which included an interlude cover of Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor)" in the middle.
Jon Bon Jovi joked from the stage about hardcore fans begging for songs from the band's earliest days before launching into "Only Lonely" from the 1985 album "7800 Fahrenheit."
At one point in the show, Bon Jovi turned lead singer duties over to Sambora, who performed a guitar-heavy, solo performance of "Homebound Train." Other crowd favorites included "It's My Life."**
Fan Teresa Poston, who described herself as ecstatic when she heard that her favorite 1980s band was coming to Wichita, spent more than $200 at the Bon Jovi merchandise table, buying souvenirs for her kids plus three Bon Jovi T-shirts and a key chain.
"I grew up with them," she said. "I had Bon Jovi posters all over my wall." Alternative rock band Dashboard Confessional opened the show, performing its big hit "Stolen" and a cover of the Bryan Adams hit "Summer of '69," which appeared to be the only song the crowd recognized.