Monday, 5 July 2010

'Live Before You Die' Bon Jovi Blog Contest

To my readers: Bon Jovi are holding a fantastic competition which enables one lucky blogger the chance to win 2 tickets to the final show of the US leg of the tour in Chicago. All you have to do is blog about your ideal show...this is my entry!

Jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, I step off the plane in Chicago. It was a long flight from but I'm buzzing because in less than twelve hours I'll be taken to the soaring heights of Jovi heaven once more. I've never been to Chicago, I muse to myself as I scour the luggage carousel for my Heart and Dagger suitcase. Outside the airport, I'm waiting with my girlfriend but I won't get a chance to 'flag down a cab' like they do in the movies; I've just spotted our private car which takes us to our fancy hotel. I'd never be able to afford this kind of luxury. It's OK; Jon's paying tonight.

Fast forward a few hours. Bags have been strewn on the bed, I've wolfed down my complimentary dinner and am eager to get to Soldier Field to be at one with the Jovi nation; feel welcomed and safe amongst those like me, virgins seeking their first Bon Jovi highs and veterans expecting great things since the O2 set-lists were published online, hoping tonight will be as special as it always is. Or maybe even just a bit more.

Everyone's smiling. Happy faces queueing, I catch tinny drones of Bad Name playing from a mobile phone and a distant singalong of Prayer is attracting a lot of attention. The merchandise tent is being set-up nearby and it's really starting to sink in. I'm actually here! I see the sleeping bags and throwaway pillows; I've been there before. But tonight I'm in the pit, escorted to the front by Obie himself just before showtime. The crowds will part for Sir Obie so it won't be a problem getting to the barrier.

This crowd is well and truly pumped, the atmosphere is fantastic and the weather couldn't be better. We're upstairs now, watching through a large window as the drones of fans pour into the venue; excitedly patient and trying not to push as we're sat comfortably in the VIP suite with other eager competition winners. I feel as nervous as Jon must have done back in Sayreville at his first ever show. I know what's coming next; I can't contain my nervous energy as I swig over and over again from the cold bottle of beer before my girlfriend assures me it's empty and has been for a while now. But I didn't quite hear what she said. Tico just strolled in. My mind has gone blank. Do I talk about rudiments and paradiddles? Ask him about his swing? I don't even play golf. Here is the physical representation of why I took up playing drums all those years ago and I feel like a starstruck teenager. Well, I guess that's what I am. Coolly he saunters over, shaking hands and signing autographs and I somehow manage to string a few words together. Decidely humiliated yet too grateful to care as he moves on to someone else, I spot Richie, Hugh, Dave and Jon. It's like some kind of mad dream. Richie looks taller than in pictures, his eyes so warm and friendly; Dave's hands look weathered and I imagine them spanning his keys or penning a symphony; Hugh looks just like one of them, so comfortable with his brothers, maybe they'll let him do some PR for the next album; and Jon tops it all off, his million-dollar smile lighting up the room as the ardent fans flock towards him. I'll play it cool, let him come to me. I can't. I feel like a teenage-girl. Who cares. I just want to shake his hand. But they don't stay long, it's nearly show-time.

Cheers Obie! I call, what a legend! We couldn't be closer; Jon's famous white mic-stand is stood waiting as patiently as the thousands of fans in the arena right in front of me. Suddenly the PA system trails off and the lights go down. I join in with the screams, fighting back the tears as the band come onto the stage, Jon swaggering on slightly behind as he lights up the room once more with a huge grin before launching into the opening song; Dave's blistering keyboard intro. I wasn't even alive when they wrote this song.

We Weren't Born To Follow
Born To Be My Baby
Something For The Pain
Superman Tonight
Edge of a Broken Heart
Save a Prayer
It's My Life
Story of My Life
I Believe
Work For The Working Man
In These Arms
Harlem Rain (Richie vox)
Any Other Day
Silent Night
Wild is the Wind
Bad Name
I'd Die For You
Have A Nice Day
I'll Be There For You (Dave vox)
The Fire Inside (Acoustic)
Nobody's Hero (Acoustic)
Edge of a Broken Heart
Shot Through The Heart
We Got It Going On
Love's The Only Rule

The segues between the songs are flawless; the musicianship representing the honed art of nearly thirty years' hard graft. Each subtle nod and telling glance; Tico, Richie, Dave, Hugh and Bobby hanging on to Jon's every slight movement; a tell-tale sign of where this runaway train is going next. The crowd are stomping their feet, cheering, screaming, chanting. The lights are still down but once again Dave leads the way; his piano intro once more lifting the screams to a near-deafening level, having crept onstage unseen.

Encore 1:
These Days

The anthem has been played; Jon swiped Richie's cowboy hat as the crowd sang the first verse and chorus to Wanted. Waving goodbye, the band bows graciously at the edge of the stage. I'm within arms reach of the entire band's feet. Tico passes me a stick with a wink, I'll never let this go. The most amazing night of my life. The emotion took me somewhere I've never been before; this band that taught me how to love and feel have taken me on a near-3 hour rollercoaster and I can't believe it's over. As Jon's tight denim jacket disappears from view, I can't help thinking the house-lights should be up by now. People have already started filtering towards the exits. But there are tribal drums. The deep resonating toms sweep the floor and pound hard into the chest of every single person in this room, as it erupts with deafening screams once more. I can't believe they're playing my favourite song. Richie's Hey Hey Hey Hey! chants fill the arena and I'm fighting back the lump in my throat once more.

Encore 2:
Something To Believe In
Dry County

As I'm escorted back to my hotel, I wonder if I'll ever get that high again. Still grasping Tico's stick and the fireworks ringing in my ears, I think back to how close to Jon I was, how I could see the whites of his eyes, every nuance of passion in his face, looking across to Richie's timeless expressions as his fingers graced the fretboard of his beautiful guitars, Tico's mouth-playing as he pounds along relentlessly, the world's most underestimated drummer, Dave's stolen waves to people in the pit and Hughie's collected, content smile as he sits back on his effortless bass-lines. I didn't sleep at all that night. On the plane home the next day, I relived the concert again and again in my head, oblivious to the flight attendants offering peanuts and my girlfriend sleeping soundly as she rested on my shoulder. The greatest band in history just played the greatest show of their careers, and I was front and centre.


  1. wow what an amazing post! would love for you to win so we can see how it compares to your dream concert. even though im not a big fan of bon jovi, i can relate in the way i love artists like the killers or eminem. to see some one live youve grown up with must be amazing and very annoyingly i think eminem did a few shows in the uk recently! x

  2. Bon Jovi is such a high-energy and fun performer to watch and even better is Kid Rock is opening the show!! I found this link where the tickets are really cheap for his Chicago show and thought I would spread it around!!


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