ATLANTIC CITY — Music fans accustomed to seeing rock star Jon Bon Jovi on a concert stage in front of thousands in the resort received a chance to experience him in an intimate ballroom Tuesday if they were contributors to Democrat Phil Murphy’s run for governor.
Bon Jovi, 55, performed a three-song, acoustic-oriented set in the 700-person capacity Ocean Ballroom inside Resorts Casino Hotel.
With accompaniment by a guitarist, keyboardist, violinist and percussionist, Bon Jovi performed his No.1 country single from 2006, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”; his band’s signature song and No.1 Hot 100 hit “Livin’ on a Prayer” from 1986; and a cover of the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” from 1969 and written by the late George Harrison.
Murphy made the introduction of Jon Bon Jovi and called him one of the giants.
Murphy told the audience how he got to know Bon Jovi. Their children attended the same schools in Monmouth County, so they initially bonded as fathers.
Murphy praised Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, Monmouth County, and called it a game changer. JBJ Soul Kitchen is a nonprofit community restaurant that serves paying and in-need customers.
When Jon Bon Jovi came on stage, he shook Murphy’s hand and hugged him.
During Jon Bon Jovi rendition of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” he had to cough, so he stopped the song in the middle and drank some water. Some people were standing inside the ballroom and taking pictures and video as he performed.
“I’m really, really happy to be here as always for my friend, Phil Murphy,” said Bon Jovi from the stage.
Bon Jovi said he has known Murphy for 20 years, and they both have four children.
“He believed in New Jersey, like I did,” Bon Jovi said.
As far as politics or public service is concerned, certain people do it for the power, and a choice few, like Murphy, do it because they can make a difference, Bon Jovi said.
“That’s why I believe in my friend, Phil Murphy,” he said.
After singing “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Bon Jovi thanked the crowd for coming out on a fall night.
“Get out and vote. Do the right thing,” he said about Election Day on Nov. 7.
Prior to playing “Here Comes The Sun,” Bon Jovi said it was a song he wished he wrote.
After Bon Jovi finished his set, Murphy came back on stage to shake his hand and to hug him. Murphy said it was merciful for the audience Bon Jovi was doing the singing and not him.
“He has answered the bell every single time,” Murphy said.
New Jersey is one of two states to hold a governor’s race this year along with Virginia.
Former President Barack Obama will be in Newark, Essex County, on Thursday to campaign for Murphy, according to the Associated Press. Former Vice President Al Gore spoke at a rally for Murphy Sunday in Ocean Township, according to NJ.com.