Bon Jovi rocks Central Park

July 12, 2008 8:50:10 PM PDT
Bon Jovi rocked Central Park on Saturday. The rock group gave a free concert on the park's Great Lawn, delighting tens of thousands of fans who sang along with the lyrics on a glorious summer evening.

The New Jersey rockers' opened with "Livin' on a Prayer" and belted out songs including "Born to be my Baby," "Lost Highway," and "Runaway."

New York City officials gave away 60,000 tickets for the concert. Some 50,000 people were expected to attend. The free tickets were reportedly being hawked by scalpers on eBay for as much as $1,500 a pair.

Hundreds of fans lined up early - in some cases as many as six hours before the show's 8 p.m. start.

For some, it was a family affair. Josephine Ribaudo-McGrane, 34, of Queens, arrived at 1 p.m. wearing a well-worn Bon Jovi concert T-shirt she bought in 2006. She came with her mother, 12-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, an adult sister and her best friend.

"They've gotten me through a lot of rough times," she said, adding that her iPod is stocked with 200 Bon Jovi songs. "I don't think there's a song that I don't like."

The show was billed as a prelude to the Major League Baseball All-Star game at Yankee Stadium. The game on Tuesday will mark the final season at the Bronx ballpark. A new stadium is being built.

The band joins other greats who have performed on the Great Lawn, including Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand and Pope John Paul II.

Bon Jovi performs at Madison Square Garden arena on Monday and Tuesday as part of its "Lost Highway" tour. Alas, those shows require paid admission.

The quartet has been rocking for about a quarter-century and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.