Blaze of Glory: Canada’s Ultimate Bon Jovi Experience
Summit Theater, Langley Cascades Casino, Friday, Feb. 26
A RockItBoy Presentation
As the second period of Friday’s Canada/Slovakia mens hockey semifinals game came to a close, the Fraser Valley’s own Bon Jovi tribute band, Blaze of Glory stormed the stage and launched into the New Jersey superstars 80’s anthem “Raise Your Hands”. For the already-amped and liquored up crowd at the Summit Theater, it didn’t take much to get the crowd out of the seats and onto the floor.
With each song, Blaze of Glory further transported the room to another time, reminding us all just what a massive presence Bon Jovi has been in the rock world for over 25 years: “You Give Love a Bad Name”, “Livin’ On a Prayer”, “Bad Medicine”, “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “It’s My Life”….all instantly recognizable good time drinking songs.
A large part of a tribute band’s success is just how well they can impersonate their heroes. Ted Moore does a brilliant job as Jon Bon Jovi, with all the energy and enthusiasm of the genuine article, multiple costume changes, and an uncanny similarity in vocal abilities. Close your eyes, and it’s Bon Jovi. Trust me, I’ve heard enough epic karaoke failures of “Livin’ On A Prayer”, and these guys NAILED it.
Obviously, Moore wouldn’t be able to pull off this gig without some considerable talent behind him: a task made harder by recruiting players who actually resemble the real thing. While assembling this band, Moore, a Chilliwack school teacher, spent weeks of scouring the clubs to assemble a lineup of all-star players who look and sound the part: Doug Grant as drummer Tico Torres, Randy Robertson as guitarist Richie Sambora, Mike Champigny as Hugh McDonald on bass, and dreadlocked Mike Russell as keyboardist David Bryan (who blew the roof off with a brief can-can ditty).
While it’s almost impossible to find exact doppelgangers, drummer Doug Grant’s resemblance to Tico Torres verges on uncanny. Or maybe it’s just the soul patch. ( I’d love to read THAT ad: “Drummer wanted: must be willing to grow soul patch“) Not to be outdone, Randy Robertson pulled off a flawless impersonation of Sambora with some badass talkbox chops (“Livin’ On A Prayer”), some great slide playing (“Blaze of Glory”), and some 12-string magic on “Wanted Dead Or Alive”.
Labeling themselves “Canada’s Ultimate Bon Jovi Experience”, it would appear that Moore and co. have refined their act to the micro-detail, right down to the “heart and dagger” image emblazoned on Grant’s bass drum. This image made headlines last April when the real Bon Jovi filed a lawsuit against an all-female Bon Jovi tribute band, despite their history of being supportive of tribute bands.
Although Blaze of Glory are known for drawing a mosty female crowd, there was a table of twenty-something dudes at one table, belting out the lyrics to every song and waving their iPhones (in lieu of lighters) to the anthems. Further proof that a good song transcends generations, and there’s nothing wrong with pounding some beers and singing your ass off to some classic rock in a room full of strangers.
Check out the rest of the photo gallery here: