Tribute band evokes the spirit of Bon Jovi

Shouting Over Music

By DAMIEN WOOD, Herald-Tribune staff

Grande Prairie – are you ready to rock out to Bon Jovi Friday night? Well, how about a reasonable facsimile thereof?

Blaze of Glory: Canada’s Ultimate Bon Jovi Experience will be at Better Than Fred’s tonight. Playing all of the hits from 1983 through to the Real Deal’s current era, frontman Jon Bon Jovi … err r… Ted Moore calls his Blaze of Glory project “the finest Bon Jovi tribute anywhere.”

Blaze of Glory has never been to Grande Prairie before. But I think it may be a good fit – we love our cowboys, and Jon Bon Jovi played one in a movie once.

I should note, when my assignment editor first asked if I wanted to do something on a tribute band I contemplated various escape routes from the newsroom.

But now, after talking to Ted, I think I am actually going to be heading over to Fred’s to see this thing for myself.

He has a sense of humour about it if nothing else.

He told me a story from last year’s Calgary Stampede where Blaze of Glory had been booked to play, when shortly before the Vancouver quintet was to fly out they found out the Real Deal were brought in.

“We got bumped by Bon Jovi!” said Ted.

It’s an unusual thing, he said, to be touring a tribute show when that emulated act is still touring itself.

Could be worse – an all-girl band called Blonde Jovi found themselves in legal trouble with Bon Jovi not long ago over having too similar a name. So, they’re called Blonde Jersey now.

Blaze of Glory has so far flown under the Bon Jovi’s radar.

“At some point, we know that they are going to hear about this,” said Ted.

Ted doesn’t know how Jon would react, but sense of humour or not, he takes the gig pretty seriously.

Blaze of Glory has been going since 2008.

It took him 16 weeks after deciding to become the Young Gun to “go shopping” through his mental Rolodex of musicians from the Vancouver area to find matches – each member of Bon Jovi is represented.

Then another 10 months converting them.

It is a lot to manage – they craft their shows from three or four very well known Bon Jovi concerts.

He said the crowds coming out for these shows – the most recent being in Las Vegas – love it.

“They know as well as I do that the real band isn’t there,” said Ted.

“But it’s really interesting … those who love Jon really love him, and they know the shows. They know the concert banter, the segues and the little things that we throw in.

“When they come to the show they seem to know their part.”

This is about where Ted sold me on going to see the show – I want to try on the role of co-conspirator too.

Am I singing along to Blaze of Glory with Ted, or Jon? Can he fool me for a while?

Does it even matter?

Ted’s a musician of 20 years’ experience. I have to assume he’s good at his job.

He tells me this project has been one of the more liberating experiences in those 20 years.

“It takes a lot of the pressure off of you when you know what your job is,” said Ted.

“You know exactly what it is that you need to do, so you work as hard as you can to get towards that – nothing more, nothing less.”