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Springsteen and Damiano David join Jon Bon Jovi at MusiCares

At MusiCares’ 2024 gala, Jon Bon Jovi was honored as Person of the Year alongside stars such as Bruce Springsteen.

Several artists, including Sammy Hagar, Melissa Etheridge, Jason Isbell, Shania Twain, Brandy Clark, Damiano David of Måneskin, Goo Goo Dolls, Jelly Roll, Train’s Pat Monahan, Marcus King, Mammoth WVH, The War and Treaty, and Lainey Wilson, performed rousing renditions of the rock icon’s most beloved songs.

Even though he had suffered a deep personal loss, fellow Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen came out to support his friend. Adele, Springsteen’s mother, died on Tuesday night at the age of 98.

“Bruce’s mom died two days ago, and when I first heard the news, he was already on the plane here,” Bon Jovi said from the stage. “I would have understood if he had said he could not make it. But he wanted to be here tonight for MusiCares and me, and I will be eternally grateful to you for everything.

Paul McCartney did not take the stage, but he and his wife Nancy Shevell were seated with Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea, Rita Wilson, and Bruce Springsteen.

Jim Gaffigan, a Grammy-nominated comedian, hosted the 33rd annual MusiCares benefit and kept the audience laughing with assessments of Bon Jovi’s hair and wardrobe choices over the years, as well as a steady stream of hilarious moments.

Noting the universal appeal of the honoree’s songs, he inquired, “Have you been to a wedding reception and not drunkenly sung along to ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’?”

Lenny Kravitz, Gayle King, and Kylie Minogue were presenters, while John Mayer, Matthew McConaughey, Ed Sheeran, Pink, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker expressed their best wishes via video.

Damiano David and Jon Bon Jovi
Damiano David and Jon Bon Jovi

In a night of soaring, expertly curated performances, Springsteen opened the tributes on the highest of notes.

Bon Jovi and his band opened the show with a preview of the single “Legendary” from their upcoming album before calling up “my mentor, my brother, my hero”—and the Boss took the stage.

They immediately fell into the inspired harmonizing, riffing, and strumming of Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Cannot Go Home,” which can only come from two musicians who have spent many late-night hours jamming. This would have been enough if they had not immediately moved on to Springsteen’s song Promised Land,” with Bon Jovi playing Springsteen’s signature harmonica lines.

At the start, Bon Jovi told the crowd of 2,000 guests, who were dressed to the nines and in the house to support the Recording Academy’s arm that supports the health and welfare of the music community, “I want to remind you, this is a Bon Jovi concert. We do not sit down. And, for the most part, they had no trouble following along during the two-plus-hour journey through the Grammy-winning and 11-time nominee’s songbook, which has sold over 130 million records worldwide with his band and as a solo artist. 

The night’s power ballad highlights were War and Treaty’s gorgeous rendition of “I Will Be There for You” and Clark’s “(You Want To) Make a Memory.”

David once again showed off his rockstar chops on “Keep the Faith,” and Mammoth WVH, led by Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the late Eddie Van Halen, cranked up the volume with their excellent rendition of “Have a Nice Day.”

Robert Kraft, the businessman, and owner of the New England Patriots, presented Bon Jovi with his Person of the Year trophy, praising his status not only as a rock star but also as a humanitarian and philanthropist who has maintained “his empathy for the world at large” even as he rose to musical fame. Among his many contributions, Bon Jovi established the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in 2006, which is dedicated to breaking the cycle of hunger, poverty, and homelessness.

Following special mentions of Springsteen and McCartney, Bon Jovi graciously thanked his entire circle—the “we in me,” as he referred to them.

“Everything I have accomplished with or without the band, as well as in my philanthropic life, has been made possible by the support of my family, friends, bandmates, collaborators, and an army of the willing.”

Then, backed by his band and the other performers, he ended the night in the only fitting way: with a triumphant rendition of the iconic hit “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

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