October 5, 1995
Bon Jovi performed an amazing show in Edmonton this week and I was there to capture the whole show. They are my favourite band and this was a very special night for me, as I got to meet members of Bon Jovi and see my second Bon Jovi show ever. The last time they played in Edmonton was two years ago and Bon Jovi did more than make up for lost time.
I won backstage passes and great floor tickets to the show. I was very excited about that and couldn't wait for the chance to meet my favourite musician and singer of all time, Jon Bon Jovi. This was my biggest dream to meet him. I was very excited as well about having the chance to meet the whole band.
I went backstage after Jon's interview on radio station Power 92. I was so nervous, as when my friend Tony and I walked backstage, I heard the voice of an angel - Jon was somewhere, I heard him sing a few lines of some unknown song. I tried to remain calm as we were lead down this hallway. One second I am a quivering mess trying to be calm and the next moment I look up and there's Richie Sambora, the guitarist of Bon Jovi! AAAHHH!!! He greeted us all and said hello, and then he shook my hand and smiled...he TOUCHED my hand...that was enough to make me a babbling idiot. He happily answered our questions, took pictures, and signed autographs. I got both my "These Days" poster and CD autographed, and I then posed for a picture with him. I felt like I was hogging all time possible with him because he just meant so much to me! Well then if you don't already know that I am an aspiring singer, this won't make sense to you, but I gave Richie 4 copies of the Powermix CD with my personal message in each of them to each member of the band and explained what it was all about. He thanked me and he seemed really interested in it. Then I said to him, "I have always had so many questions that I have been dying to ask you, but now that I am finally here in front of you, my mind has gone blank!". He laughed about that, and then I congratulated him on his recent marriage to "Melrose Place" star Heather Locklear. He was very happy and sincere with his thanks! Then he played a guitar that another guy had won and Richie asked the guy what song he wanted him to play. He played the long version intro to "This Ain't A Love Song" right before me! I was SOOOO excited! I wanted desperately to sing with him while he played, because it is my dream to sing with Bon Jovi, but I was too shy to even open my mouth or suggest it. I was just sitting there, mesmerized. Then he gave me and Tony his own picks out of his pocket that he had used and I finally asked him my most important question: "Where's Jon?"
"Jon's rehearsing right now. He is practicing his singing, voice training, etc". Richie told me.
"Will we meet him?" I asked Richie.
"No, afraid not." replied Richie. My heart sank to my feet but I didn't want Richie to think that I wasn't grateful for meeting him, as that was the ultimate for me! I didn't want him to think he was second place to Jon since he had been so kind. Well Richie had to go and we all said goodbye and went to find our seats. I was sad because I wouldn't get to meet Jon. I was determined to try anyway. During the intermission between the horrible opening act Bad Company's set and Bon Jovi's show, Tony and I snuck down to the backstage area again with our passes and what do you know - Tico Torres, Bon Jovi's drummer, was sitting there, playing pretend drumsticks on his legs, while talking to some tour guy! WOW! Another member of Bon Jovi for me to meet! So I went up to him and said hi, then asked if it were okay for me to take a picture with him. He smiled (Tico doesn't smile very much at all; this is a rare occasion) and said sure, then we asked him to sign our posters, CD's and he did without a complaint, but he was very quiet and seemed like he was the silent member of Bon Jovi, he didn't like to say much at all. I sat next to him and congratulated him on his engagement to supermodel Eva Herizgova and just said a simple thanks before Tony and I once again had to leave the backstage area! DAMN! I still hadn't seen Jon.
I wasn't mad at Jon since as a singer, I know how important it is for him personally to put on the best quality of show he possibly could. I know a lot about Jon, and he would never refuse to meet fans, he was genuinely busy and most likely did not wish to be disturbed by ANYBODY.
My guess is that he was doing his scales and practicing his range, warm-up techniques, etc. He needs to put an hour or so into his warm-up considering the strength he exhibits on stage vocally and physically. I admired him for being so dedicated to his work. He wasn't just ignoring fans because he was a jerk or because he wanted to get drunk, but because he wanted to put on the best show possible. I give Jon Bon Jovi great respect for this, even though it still crushed me not to see him.
Tony and I were going to make another attempt to meet Jon after the show by running backstage with our passes right after the show, but by the end of the show, security had stopped being stupid and tightened up, not allowing anybody back towards the backstage entrance, even if you had a pass.
Anyways, after all of this excitement, Bon Jovi FINALLY appeared on stage, and at the moment where Jon made his appearance to deafening screams of fans like me (actually, there is no other fan like me, it's not possible to love them as much), I knew the wait, the pain and the agony was worth it.
All of his practicing did him wonders as his voice was the most beautiful sound throughout the whole show, especially during his strong solo of the chorus of "Always" right near the end of the show. Bon Jovi opened up the show with their cover of Neil Young's "Keep On Rocking In The Free World", and that led into their new song "Hey God" off of "These Days". They had video screens on both sides of the coliseum which displayed the band (mostly Jon and his fine butt) for those far away from the stage. The light show was great and didn't try to overshadow the performance, only highlight it. The stage was set as a lounge, with a bar on either side, where the lucky contest winners and V.I.P.'s got to sit (Tony and I were row 19 on the floor). I still got an excellent view of Jon, which was my highlight of the evening. He poured soul, emotion, and guts into every line of every song Bon Jovi has belted out over the past 10 years of their existance time and time again. It was a great mix of older rock anthems of the 80's such as "Livin' On A Prayer" (In which Jon wanted the crowd to sing most of the choruses instead of himself) and "You Give Love A Bad Name". Once Jon's shirt became undone, so did I. They paraded proudly through the best show I have ever seen before. If you have ever heard rumors that Jon looks as though he has lost his spirit for performing and doesn't care anymore, DON'T BELIEVE IT!!! Take one look at this band on stage and Jon's exuberant energy throughout the 2 and a half hours that never fades away, and you'll see why they are one of the greatest rock bands of the world.
My favourite moments included on one side of the stage,a dancing blownup female stripper chicken wearing nothing but a g string, (yes, I am absolutely serious) and on the other side, a horned- Elvis with big red eyes and a guitar, both dancing the night away through what Bon Jovi likes to call their "Stripper Bar Set" which included "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", "Jumpin' Jack Flash". A large blownup jukebox also emerged from the center of the stage.
Jon first spoke to the crowd earlier in the show, wanting to know "How Edmonton was feeling tonight?" and then proceeded to talk about how it had been two years since they had been here last, and promised to make up for lost time. Then Jon told the crowd "Just fasten your seatbelts and let Jonny drive". They went wild! Jon also later in the show promised to go on a long journey on miles of highway and then innocently turned and asked "Anybody here want to come with me?". But my favourite moment of Jon's flirtations with the crowd was during the song "Damned", about having a hot affair, in which he got very slow and sexy during the interlude, and told what he wanted to do to the females in the audience (who all, including myself, assumed he was talking directly at them) which brought so many shrieks of delight as he kept repeating "If lovin' you's wrong, if lovin' you's wrong, then I don't wanna be right"....then he screamed "Turn out the lights!" and from then on it just went crazy. Especially when he did his sexy little dances. He really had this city in the palm of his hand on Thursday night. Only a man with that much sex appeal could convince a crowd of women to throw bouquets of roses (red ones, of course) at the stage.
Jon gave the stage over to Richie and teased him throughout the show by pulling bunny ears on him while he played, and exhibiting him to the crowd. His interaction with his band members only continued to prove his master showmanship. Jon played rhythm to Richie's lead in Sambora's solo hit "Stranger In This Town".
Bon Jovi did two encores, one including the hit ballad "Always" and then lead into the "New Jersey" hit "Blood On Blood". After this song, the band said their final goodbyes and held hands across the stage to bow to what they call "The Faithful". Then, as all the band except for Jon had left the stage, Jon looked back in the dark except for a single spotlight that shined on him solely, and asked if we wanted him back. The crowd went into thunderous applause and Jon smiled that charismatic famous grin as he complied and the band came back to finish the show with their huge hit "This Ain't A Love Song".
I thought I adored Bon Jovi before I had seen this show, but after that magical night, I have a whole new love and respect for the New Jersey rockers. I have so many great souvenirs and memories from the show which I wish to share with the world. I hope this review will open the eyes of the critics and doubters to what Bon Jovi is all about to me and to their Faithful...devotion, determination, love, faith, hope, happiness, sadness, people, hurt, joy, and the feeling that wil exist forever within Bon Jovi - the love of rock and roll.