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.”

Blaze of Glory – keeping the faith

Ted Moore as Jon Bon JoviLast night I traveled to Club 351 in Salmon Arm, BC to see Vancouver’s Blaze of Glory – a Bon Jovi tribute band.

The club is down a set of stairs one block off the main drag of town, and didn’t look terribly promising from the outside, but once inside boasted a very slick bar area, large dance floor with couches spread around, and comfortable tables, booths and barstool areas. While definitely an older space, it was clean, freshly painted and well looked after by serving staff, door staff and security.

The band came on just after 11pm (no opening act which was nice) and jumped into a killer rendition of Raise Your Hands which fired up the somewhat small audience. You Give Love a Bad Name, Born to be my Baby, and Living on Prayer followed in succession by which time the audience had grown substantially in size, as well as volume!

Bed of Roses saw singer Ted Moore (Jon Bon Jovi) out in the audience with a cordless mic, singing to a few ladies who had braved being on the dance floor with their girlfriends.

By the time Blaze of Glory hit the setlist, a group of about 10 decided to pick up their table with all its contents, and move it to the dance floor only feet from the stage. The band and staff went with it, which increased the fun factor. Have a Nice Day, Runaway and Bad Medicine rounded out the first set list at which time the band took a short break to gear up for the second half.

After a brief respite in the green room, Blaze of Glory came back on stage to rock us into the next day. Lay Your Hands and One Wild Night got more people up on the dance floor and the smoke effects kicked in nicely. The new set also saw Ted/Bon Jovi in new duds. There had been a few changes of jackets in the first set list – jean jacket, leather jacket etc.. the new duds were the addition of a cowboy hat and faded well worn jeans instead of leather pants, and brown suede jacket with fringes down each arm – very retro, very true Bon Jovi. The band too were true to the roots of Bon Jovi, respendent in dark sunglasses, retro concert tees and faded jeans (thank goodness they skipped the spandex pants/tights era!)

The set list was rounded out with I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Make a Memory, It’s My Life, Wanted Dead or Alive, I’ll be There For You, and closed out with Keep the Faith. The band was well honed, expert at their instrumentation but also masters of live performance.. they know how to have fun while putting on a kick ass show for people. The band consists of Ted Moore on Vocals, Randy Robertson on guitar, Mike Champigny on bass, Mike Russel on keyboards and Doug Grant on drums. I also want to mention their sound/lighting engineer Orest Patraschuk (and his two assistants) who did a great job making sure the sound was clear and crisp and the lighting perfect for the space.Blaze of Glory, Canada's Ultimate Bon Jovi Experience

This review by Donna Mair