LOS ANGELES — New Jersey came to the West Coast to kick off Grammy Awards weekend, with native sons Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen teaming up.
The occasion was to honor Bon Jovi for his musical achievements and philanthropic efforts as MusiCares Person of the Year on Friday night.
Bon Jovi hailed Springsteen as “my hero, my friend, my mentor” to a crowd of 2,000 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Instead of performing at the end of the evening as is traditional for the honoree, Bon Jovi got the nearly three-hour show going. He and Springsteen traded guitar licks on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” as scenes of New Jersey were projected behind them.
With the crowd on its feet for a standing ovation, they segued into Springsteen’s “The Promised Land,” with Bon Jovi on harmonica before Springsteen joined him.
Bon Jovi then retreated to his star-studded table in the crowd. He was joined by his wife, Dorothea, Paul McCartney and his wife, Nancy, Springsteen, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and actor-singer Rita Wilson.
Springsteen appeared two days after his 98-year-old mother Adele died.
“When I first got the news he was already on the airplane on his way here,” Bon Jovi told the crowd. “I certainly would have understood if he’d said that he couldn’t make it, but he wanted to be here tonight for MusiCares and he wanted to be here tonight for me, and I am forever grateful to you.”
Melissa Etheridge was joined by Larkin Poe for a rip-roaring version of “Blaze of Glory” two days before the Grammy Awards.
Best new artist nominee Jelly Roll performed “Bad Medicine” and Lainey Wilson sang “We Weren’t Born to Follow.”
Pat Monahan of Train tackled “It’s My Life” as Bon Jovi bobbed his head in time to the music.
Clad in black-fringed leather, Shania Twain sang “Bed of Roses” as the hall was bathed in red lighting. Bon Jovi touched his hand to his heart as she closed out the ballad.
Jason Isbell did “Wanted Dead or Alive” and Damiano David of Måneskin sang “Keep the Faith.”
The War and Treaty took the crowd to church with their soulful in-the-round performance of “I’ll Be There for You” that earned a standing ovation.
Van Halen fans got a treat when the band’s former lead singer, Sammy Hager, did “You Give Love a Bad Name” with Orianthi on guitar. Wolfgang Van Halen and his Mammoth WVH came out later to do “Have a Nice Day.”
Brandy Clark, a six-time nominee on Sunday, played guitar and sang “(You Want to) Make a Memory” in the round backed by piano and cello.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan hosted and relentlessly mocked Bon Jovi for his big hair and penchant for wearing short-shorts in the 1980s. Proof of the rocker’s questionable sartorial choices were flashed on video screens around the hall.
“Does it feel like you’re looking in a mirror?” Gaffigan said when he later walked out dressed in a Jack Daniels sleeveless T-shirt, denim shorts, spiked hair and cowboy boots.
Bon Jovi broke out laughing.
“Livin’ On a Prayer” became an all-star finale, with Bon Jovi joined onstage by the other performers for a singalong.
Kraft presented Bon Jovi with his award as MusiCares Person of the Year. The two first met on the sidelines at the 1997 Super Bowl.
Bon Jovi founded the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank and his Soul Foundation, a nonprofit that operates community restaurants in three New Jersey cities. His foundation also has helped fund more than 700 units of affordable housing in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
“Tonight and every night I know how blessed I’ve been,” Bon Jovi said.
Now in its 34th year, the dinner and auction raised money for programs and services supporting musicians in need.
For more coverage of the 2024 Grammys, visit https://apnews.com/hub/grammy-awards