Rocker Jon Bon Jovi honored at pre-Grammy gala

Agence France-Presse, Maggy Donaldson - Philstar.com
Rocker Jon Bon Jovi honored at pre-Grammy gala
Honoree US singer-songwriter Jon Bon Jovi, singer Sammy Hagar and singer Shania Twain perform during the 2024 MusiCares Person of the Year gala at the LA Convention Center in Los Angeles, February 2, 2024.
AFP / Michael Tran

LOS ANGELES, United States — Bruce Springsteen played a blistering duet with Jon Bon Jovi to honor the latter artist at a pre-Grammy gala Friday, as superstars including Paul McCartney danced along to an event heavy on New Jersey pride.

The two rock icons had the crowd on its feet for rollicking renditions of Bon Jovi's hit "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and Springsteen's "The Promised Land."

The star-studded gala in Los Angeles is an annual pre-Grammy tradition from MusiCares, the charitable wing of the Recording Academy that raises money to help musicians in need.

Past honorees include Dolly Parton and Joni Mitchell as well as Springsteen and McCartney.

In accepting the award, Bon Jovi heralded his friend The Boss, including to acknowledge the death of Springsteen's mother earlier this week.

"He wanted to be here tonight for me, and I'm forever grateful to you," Bon Jovi, 61, told Springsteen.

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan hosted the event, which was brimming with riffs on short shorts and big hair, a look elemental to Bon Jovi's rise in his heady hair band days.

At one point, Gaffigan even donned a teased wig and denim cutoffs, telling the audience: "When most people see Jon or me they see a piece of ass — but that's not fair to Jon or me. There's many more dimensions."

Sporting a sparkling blazer and cowboy hat, '90s rocker Melissa Etheridge harnessed her powerful vocals for a performance of the bluesy "Blaze of Glory" in honor of the artist she told journalists on the red carpet she has "loved for years."

"Just seeing him and the band, you know for decades, just making music and keeping relevant, keeping singing the songs we love, and just, you know, being cool."

'Friend for life' 

Jelly Roll, the rapper turned country singer in the running for a Best New Artist Grammy, gave a spot-on performance of the glam arena rock favorite "Bad Medicine" that drew resounding applause.

Also up for Best New Artist are the husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty, a country and blues act who brought the crowd to their feet with a heartstring-pulling duet of "I'll Be There For You."

Country-pop legend Shania Twain performed the power ballad "Bed of Roses," while Lainey Wilson, the country artist up for two awards on Sunday, staged a twangified version of "We Weren't Born To Follow."

Fellow Grammy nominee Jason Isbell smashed his performance of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive."

The Goo Goo Dolls, who have toured extensively with Bon Jovi, performed "This House is Not For Sale," including a power solo worthy of any guitar hero.

"He's always been generous and open, and those are the people that I admire most in this business," said Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik of Bon Jovi.

"I think he truly deserves it, he's genuine about what he does, and he's always given back a lot. And I think that helps keep you sane, and it makes this worthwhile."

The night ended with an ensemble performance of the smash "Livin' On A Prayer," after Bon Jovi delivered a speech heralding the "gift" that is music.

"Every time that I strum my guitar, I'm reminded that I have a best friend for life. That instrument will never let you down," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're eight or if you're 80, if you're playing in a bedroom or at the local stadium."

"Tonight, and every night, I know how blessed I've been."

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