It was an all-singing, all-dancing cowboy and cougar convention as Bon Jovi fans "whoa whoaed" along to the pop rock band's greatest hits at Wellington's Westpac Stadium last night.

"Is this New Zealand or New Jersey?" said the band's frontman: Jon Bon Jovi felt so at home for his first North Island concert in 15 years that he could barely tell the difference.

The legendary frontman's 1000-watt smile lit up the near-capacity stadium while Richie Sambora's guitars became a virtual fifth member of the band - they were that prominent.

The band steamrollered through their biggest hits including Livin' on a Prayer and It's My Life. Their rendition of Bad Medicine segued into a rocky version of Roy Orbison's classic Pretty Woman before reverting to the original.

Bon Jovi, whose lyrics often champion the working class, also paid tribute to the Pike River miners.

"They were just trying to put food on their family's tables," he said.

The Kiwi leg of the band's worldwide Circle Tour is halfway there. They play Auckland's Vector Arena tonight, and the fans are in for a treat.

Auckland band Black River Drive, who won a radio competition to open the proceedings, rose to the occasion well.