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Bon Jovi pays tribute to late Saints’ Tom Benson during Sunday show in New Orleans

Bon Jovi performs at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
Bon Jovi performs at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Sunday, March 25, 2018. The Advocate

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi said he had a lot of fond memories of the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. It was, after all, the place where the singer became a world champion.

“This place is very special to me — I used to be a part owner of an arena football team and this building is where the Philadelphia Soul won a championship,” Bon Jovi said during a concert Sunday night.

The Soul defeated the San Jose Sabercats 59-56 at the arena to win the 2008 Arena Bowl XXII.

Sunday saw the return of the New Jersey native who was performing at the arena with his band, Bon Jovi. It was was the first time the band had played the venue since 1989 when it was known as the New Orleans arena.

Bon Jovi also took a moment during two-hour-plus set to pay tribute to the late owner of the New Orleans Saints.

“I want to mention a man that was a friend of mine and who brought New Orleans its first Super Bowl victory — Tom Benson,” he said.

Bon Jovi opened the 23-song set with “This House is Not For Sale,” the title track from the band’s 13th album. The show featured songs mostly cut after 1992’s “Keep The Faith,” but hits were sprinkled throughout including “Bad Medicine,” and “Lay Your Hands on Me.”

Bon Jovi’s 1986 breakout album “Slippery When Wet” was also well represented with an early set version of “You Give Love a Bad Name” and the show’s closers, “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Living on A Prayer.”

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